Legg Mason Partners Investment Trust

December 29, 2022

LEGG MASON PARTNERS INVESTMENT TRUST

 

Fund

 

 

                    Ticker Symbol

 

      Class A      Class C      Class FI      Class R      Class I      Class IS 

 

CLEARBRIDGE AGGRESSIVE GROWTH FUND

(the “Fund”)

  SHRAX    SAGCX    LMPFX    LMPRX    SAGYX    LSIFX

620 Eighth Avenue

New York, New York 10018

877-6LM-FUND/656-3863

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus and is meant to be read in conjunction with the Prospectus of the Fund, dated December 29, 2022, as amended or supplemented from time to time, and is incorporated by reference in its entirety into the Prospectus.

Additional information about the Fund’s investments is available in the Fund’s annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders. The annual report contains financial statements that are incorporated herein by reference (https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/880366/000119312522270776/d391277dncsr.htm). The Fund’s Prospectus and copies of the annual and semi-annual reports may be obtained free of charge by contacting banks, brokers, dealers, insurance companies, investment advisers, financial consultants or advisers, mutual fund supermarkets and other financial intermediaries that have entered into an agreement with the Fund’s distributor to sell shares of the Fund (each called a “Service Agent”), by writing the Fund at Legg Mason Funds, P.O. Box 33030, St. Petersburg, FL 33733-8030, by calling the telephone number set forth above, by sending an e-mail request to [email protected] or by visiting www.franklintempleton.com/mutualfundsliterature. Franklin Distributors, LLC (“Franklin Distributors” or the “Distributor”), an indirect, wholly-owned broker/dealer subsidiary of Franklin Resources, Inc., serves as the Fund’s sole and exclusive distributor.

THIS SAI IS NOT A PROSPECTUS AND IS AUTHORIZED FOR DISTRIBUTION TO PROSPECTIVE INVESTORS ONLY IF PRECEDED OR ACCOMPANIED BY AN EFFECTIVE PROSPECTUS.

No person has been authorized to give any information or to make any representations not contained in the Prospectus or this SAI in connection with the offering made by the Prospectus and, if given or made, such information or representations must not be relied upon as having been authorized by the Fund or the Distributor. The Prospectus and this SAI do not constitute an offering by the Fund or by the Distributor in any jurisdiction in which such offering may not lawfully be made.


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

     1  

INVESTMENT POLICIES

     3  

Investment Objective and Strategies

     3  

Fundamental and Non-Fundamental Investment Policies — General

     3  

Fundamental Investment Policies

     3  

Diversification

     6  

Non-Fundamental Investment Policies

     6  

Commodity Exchange Act Regulation—Exclusion from Commodity Pool Operator Definition

     6  

INVESTMENT PRACTICES AND RISK FACTORS

     6  

MANAGEMENT

     32  

Trustees and Officers

     32  

Qualifications of Trustees, Board Leadership Structure and Oversight and Standing Committees

     37  

Trustee Ownership of Securities

     39  

Trustee Compensation

     40  

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT AND SERVICE PROVIDER INFORMATION

     40  

Manager

     40  

Subadviser

     42  

Expenses

     43  

Portfolio Managers

     43  

Other Accounts Managed by the Portfolio Managers

     43  

Portfolio Managers Securities Ownership

     44  

Potential Conflicts of Interest

     44  

Portfolio Manager Compensation Structure

     45  

Custodian and Transfer Agent

     46  

Fund Counsel

     47  

Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

     47  

PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE

     47  

Portfolio Transactions

     47  

Brokerage and Research Services

     48  

Aggregate Brokerage Commissions Paid

     48  

Securities of Regular Broker/Dealers

     49  

Portfolio Turnover

     49  

SHARE OWNERSHIP

     50  

Principal Shareholders

     50  

DISTRIBUTOR

     53  

Dealer Commissions and Concessions

     57  

Sales Charges

     57  

Initial Sales Charges

     57  

Contingent Deferred Sales Charges

     58  

Services and Distribution Plan

     58  

PURCHASE OF SHARES

     59  

REDEMPTION OF SHARES

     67  

EXCHANGE OF SHARES

     69  

VALUATION OF SHARES

     70  

PROXY VOTING GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURES

     71  

DISCLOSURE OF PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS

     71  

General Rules/Website Disclosure

     71  

Ongoing Arrangements

     72  

Release of Limited Portfolio Holdings Information

     74  

Exceptions to the Policy

     74  

Limitations of Policy

     74  

THE TRUST

     75  

TAXES

     77  

CODES OF ETHICS

     88  


FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     88  

APPENDIX A—PROXY VOTING POLICIES

     A-1  


GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Because the following is a combined glossary of terms used for all the Legg Mason Funds, certain terms below may not apply to your fund. Any terms used but not defined herein have the meaning ascribed to them in the applicable Fund’s prospectus.

“12b-1 Plans” means the Fund’s distribution and shareholder services plan.

“1933 Act” means the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

“1934 Act” means the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.

“1940 Act” means the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended.

“1940 Act Vote” means the vote of the lesser of: (a) more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund; or (b) 67% or more of the shares of the Fund present at a shareholders’ meeting if more than 50% of the outstanding shares of that Fund are represented at the meeting in person or by proxy.

“Advisers Act” means the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended.

“Board” means the Board of Trustees or Board of Directors, as applicable.

“CEA” means the Commodity Exchange Act, as amended.

“CFTC” means the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

“Code” means the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

“Corporation” (if applicable) means the corporation listed on the cover page of this SAI.

“Directors” means the directors of the Corporation.

“Distributor” means the party that is responsible for the distribution or sale of the Fund’s shares. Franklin Distributors, LLC (“Franklin Distributors”) is the Fund’s distributor.

“FINRA” means the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc.

“Franklin Resources” means Franklin Resources, Inc.

“Fund” means the Fund or Funds listed on the cover of this SAI unless stated otherwise.

“Fundamental Investment Policy” means an investment policy of the Fund that may be changed only by a 1940 Act Vote. Only those policies expressly designated as such are fundamental investment policies. All other policies and restrictions may be changed by the Board without shareholder approval.

“Independent Director” or “Independent Trustee” (as applicable) means a Director of the Corporation or a Trustee of the Trust who is not an “interested person” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Corporation or Trust (as applicable).

“IRAs” means Individual Retirement Accounts.

“IRS” means Internal Revenue Service.

 

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“Legg Mason” means Legg Mason, Inc.

“Legg Mason Funds” means the funds managed by Legg Mason Partners Fund Advisor, LLC or an affiliate.

“Manager” or “LMPFA” means Legg Mason Partners Fund Advisor, LLC.

“NAV” means net asset value.

“NRSROs” means nationally recognized (or non-U.S.) statistical rating organizations, including, but not limited to, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”), Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings, a subsidiary of S&P Global Inc. (“S&P”).

“NYSE” means the New York Stock Exchange.

“Prospectus” means the prospectus of a Fund as referenced on the cover page of this SAI.

“SAI” means this Statement of Additional Information.

“SEC” means the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Service Agent” means each bank, broker, dealer, insurance company, investment adviser, financial consultant or adviser, mutual fund supermarket and any other financial intermediaries that have entered into an agreement with the Distributor to sell shares of the Fund.

“Subadviser” means ClearBridge Investments, LLC and Western Asset Management Company, LLC, as applicable, and as referred to in the Fund’s Prospectus and this SAI.

“Trust” (if applicable) means the trust listed on the cover page of this SAI.

“Trustees” means the trustees of the Trust.

 

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INVESTMENT POLICIES

Investment Objective and Strategies

The Fund is registered under the 1940 Act as an open-end management investment company. The Fund’s Prospectus discusses the Fund’s investment objective and strategies. The following is a summary of certain strategies and investment limitations of the Fund and supplements the description of the Fund’s investment strategies in its Prospectus. Additional information regarding investment practices and risk factors with respect to the Fund may also be found below in the section entitled Investment Practices and Risk Factors.

ClearBridge Aggressive Growth Fund

 

Investment objective. The Fund seeks capital appreciation.

 

 

The Fund invests primarily in common stocks of companies the portfolio managers believe are experiencing, or will experience, growth in earnings exceeding the average rate of earnings growth of the companies which comprise the S&P 500 Index.

 

 

A significant portion of the Fund’s assets may be invested in the securities of small to medium capitalization companies.

 

 

The Fund may invest up to 25% of its net assets (at the time of investment) in foreign securities.

 

 

The Fund may hold no more than 25% of the Fund’s net assets (taken at the then-current market value) as required collateral for short sales at any one time.

 

 

The Fund is authorized to borrow money in an amount up to 5% of its total assets for temporary or emergency purposes.

 

 

Certain Risk Considerations. Securities of the kinds of companies in which the Fund invests may be subject to significant price fluctuation and above-average risk. In addition, companies achieving an earnings growth rate higher than that of S&P 500 companies tend to reinvest their earnings rather than distribute them. As a result, the Fund is not likely to receive significant dividend income on its portfolio securities. Accordingly, an investment in the Fund should not be considered as a complete investment program and may not be appropriate for all investors.

Fundamental and Non-Fundamental Investment Policies

General

The Fund has adopted the fundamental and non-fundamental investment policies below for the protection of shareholders. Fundamental investment policies of the Fund may not be changed without a 1940 Act Vote. The Board may change non-fundamental investment policies at any time without shareholder approval and upon notice to shareholders.

If any percentage restriction described below (other than the limitation on borrowing) is complied with at the time of an investment, a later increase or decrease in the percentage resulting from a change in asset values or characteristics will not constitute a violation of such restriction, unless otherwise noted below.

The Fund’s investment objective is non-fundamental.

Fundamental Investment Policies

The Fund’s fundamental investment policies are as follows:

Borrowing. The Fund may not borrow money except as permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

Underwriting. The Fund may not engage in the business of underwriting the securities of other issuers except as permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

Lending. The Fund may lend money or other assets to the extent permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

 

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Senior Securities. The Fund may not issue senior securities except as permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

Real Estate. The Fund may not purchase or sell real estate except as permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

Commodities. The Fund may purchase or sell commodities or contracts related to commodities to the extent permitted by (i) the 1940 Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, or (ii) exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

Concentration. Except as permitted by exemptive or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, the Fund may not make any investment if, as a result, the Fund’s investments will be concentrated in any one industry.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to borrowing money set forth above, the 1940 Act permits a fund to borrow money in amounts of up to one-third of the fund’s total assets from banks for any purpose, and to borrow up to 5% of the fund’s total assets from banks or other lenders for temporary purposes. (A fund’s total assets include the amounts being borrowed.) To limit the risks attendant to borrowing, the 1940 Act requires a fund to maintain an “asset coverage” of at least 300% of the amount of its borrowings, provided that in the event that the fund’s asset coverage falls below 300%, the fund is required to reduce the amount of its borrowings so that it meets the 300% asset coverage threshold within three days (not including Sundays and holidays). Asset coverage means the ratio that the value of a fund’s total assets (including amounts borrowed), minus liabilities other than borrowings, bears to the aggregate amount of all borrowings. Certain trading practices and investments, such as reverse repurchase agreements, may be considered to be borrowing, and thus subject to the 1940 Act restrictions. Borrowing money to increase portfolio holdings is known as “leveraging.” Borrowing, especially when used for leverage, may cause the value of the Fund’s shares to be more volatile than if the Fund did not borrow. This is because borrowing tends to magnify the effect of any increase or decrease in the value of the Fund’s portfolio holdings. Borrowed money thus creates an opportunity for greater gains, but also greater losses. To repay borrowings, the Fund may have to sell securities at a time and at a price that is unfavorable to the Fund. There also are costs associated with borrowing money, and these costs would offset and could eliminate the Fund’s net investment income in any given period. Currently, the Fund does not contemplate borrowing money for leverage, but if the Fund does so, it will not likely do so to a substantial degree. The policy above will be interpreted to permit the Fund to engage in trading practices and investments that may be considered to be borrowing to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act. Short-term credits necessary for the settlement of securities transactions and arrangements with respect to securities lending will not be considered to be borrowings under the policy. Practices and investments that may involve leverage but are not considered to be borrowings are not subject to the policy.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to underwriting set forth above, the 1940 Act does not prohibit a fund from engaging in the underwriting business or from underwriting the securities of other issuers; in fact, the 1940 Act permits a fund to have underwriting commitments of up to 25% of its assets under certain circumstances. Those circumstances currently are that the amount of the fund’s underwriting commitments, when added to the value of the fund’s investments in issuers where the fund owns more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of those issuers, cannot exceed the 25% cap. A fund engaging in transactions involving the acquisition or disposition of portfolio securities may be considered to be an underwriter under the 1933 Act. Under the 1933 Act, an underwriter may be liable for material omissions or misstatements in an issuer’s registration statement or prospectus. Securities purchased from an issuer and not registered for sale under the 1933 Act are considered restricted securities. There may be a limited market for these securities. If these securities are registered under the 1933 Act, they may then be eligible for sale but participating in the sale may subject the seller to underwriter liability. These risks could apply to a fund investing in restricted securities. Although it is not believed that the application of the 1933 Act provisions described above would cause the Fund to be engaged in the business of underwriting, the policy above will be interpreted not to prevent the Fund from engaging in transactions involving the acquisition or disposition of portfolio securities, regardless of whether the Fund may be considered to be an underwriter under the 1933 Act.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to lending set forth above, the 1940 Act does not prohibit a fund from making loans; however, SEC staff interpretations currently prohibit funds from lending more than one-third of their total assets, except through the purchase of debt obligations or the use of repurchase agreements. (A repurchase agreement is an agreement

 

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to purchase a security, coupled with an agreement to sell that security back to the original seller on an agreed-upon date at a price that reflects current interest rates. The SEC frequently treats repurchase agreements as loans.) While lending securities may be a source of income to the Fund, as with other extensions of credit, there are risks of delay in recovery or even loss of rights in the underlying securities should the borrower fail financially. However, loans would be made only when the Fund’s Manager or a Subadviser believes the income justifies the attendant risks. The Fund also will be permitted by this policy to make loans of money, including to other funds. The Fund would have to obtain exemptive relief from the SEC to make loans to other funds. The policy above will be interpreted not to prevent the Fund from purchasing or investing in debt obligations and loans. In addition, collateral arrangements with respect to options, forward currency and futures transactions and other derivative instruments, as well as delays in the settlement of securities transactions, will not be considered loans.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to issuing senior securities set forth above, “senior securities” are defined as fund obligations that have a priority over the fund’s shares with respect to the payment of dividends or the distribution of fund assets. The 1940 Act prohibits a fund from issuing senior securities, except that the fund may borrow money in amounts of up to one-third of the fund’s total assets from banks for any purpose. A fund also may borrow up to 5% of the fund’s total assets from banks or other lenders for temporary purposes, and these borrowings are not considered senior securities. The issuance of senior securities by a fund can increase the speculative character of the fund’s outstanding shares through leveraging. Leveraging of the Fund’s portfolio through the issuance of senior securities magnifies the potential for gain or loss on monies, because even though the Fund’s net assets remain the same, the total risk to investors is increased to the extent of the Fund’s gross assets. The policy above will be interpreted not to prevent collateral arrangements with respect to swaps, options, forward or futures contracts or other derivatives, or the posting of initial or variation margin.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to real estate set forth above, the 1940 Act does not prohibit a fund from owning real estate; however, a fund is limited in the amount of illiquid assets it may purchase. Investing in real estate may involve risks, including that real estate is generally considered illiquid and may be difficult to value and sell. Owners of real estate may be subject to various liabilities, including environmental liabilities. To the extent that investments in real estate are considered illiquid, an SEC rule limits a fund’s purchases of illiquid securities to 15% of net assets. The policy above will be interpreted not to prevent the Fund from investing in real estate-related companies, companies whose businesses consist in whole or in part of investing in real estate, instruments (like mortgages) that are secured by real estate or interests therein, or real estate investment trust securities.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to commodities set forth above, the 1940 Act does not prohibit a fund from owning commodities, whether physical commodities and contracts related to physical commodities (such as oil or grains and related futures contracts), or financial commodities and contracts related to financial commodities (such as currencies and, possibly, currency futures). However, a fund is limited in the amount of illiquid assets it may purchase. To the extent that investments in commodities are considered illiquid, an SEC rule limits a fund’s purchases of illiquid securities to 15% of net assets. If the Fund were to invest in a physical commodity or a physical commodity-related instrument, the Fund would be subject to the additional risks of the particular physical commodity and its related market. The value of commodities and commodity-related instruments may be extremely volatile and may be affected either directly or indirectly by a variety of factors. There also may be storage charges and risks of loss associated with physical commodities. The policy above will be interpreted to permit investments in exchange traded funds that invest in physical and/or financial commodities.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to concentration set forth above, the 1940 Act does not define what constitutes “concentration” in an industry. The SEC staff has taken the position that investment of 25% or more of a fund’s total assets in one or more issuers conducting their principal activities in the same industry or group of industries constitutes concentration. It is possible that interpretations of concentration could change in the future. A fund that invests a significant percentage of its total assets in a single industry may be particularly susceptible to adverse events affecting that industry and may be more risky than a fund that does not concentrate in an industry. The policy above will be interpreted to refer to concentration as that term may be interpreted from time to time. The policy also will be interpreted to permit investment without limit in the following: securities of the U.S. government and its agencies or instrumentalities; securities of state, territory, possession or municipal governments and their authorities, agencies, instrumentalities or political subdivisions; securities of foreign governments; and repurchase agreements collateralized by any such obligations. Accordingly, issuers of the foregoing securities will not be considered to be members of any industry. There also will be no limit on investment in issuers domiciled in a single jurisdiction or country. The policy also will be interpreted to give broad authority to the Fund as to how to classify issuers within or among industries or groups of industries.

 

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The Fund’s fundamental policies will be interpreted broadly. For example, the policies will be interpreted to refer to the 1940 Act and the related rules as they are in effect from time to time, and to interpretations and modifications of or relating to the 1940 Act by the SEC and others as they are given from time to time. When a policy provides that an investment practice may be conducted as permitted by the 1940 Act, the policy will be interpreted to mean either that the 1940 Act expressly permits the practice or that the 1940 Act does not prohibit the practice.

Diversification

The Fund is currently classified as a diversified fund under the 1940 Act. This means that the Fund may not purchase securities of an issuer (other than obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities) if, with respect to 75% of its total assets, (a) more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets would be invested in securities of that issuer or (b) the Fund would hold more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of that issuer. With respect to the remaining 25% of its total assets, the Fund can invest more than 5% of its assets in one issuer. Under the 1940 Act, the Fund cannot change its classification from diversified to non-diversified without shareholder approval.

Non-Fundamental Investment Policies

The Fund’s non-fundamental investment policies are as follows:

 

 

The Fund may not invest in other registered open-end management investment companies and registered unit investment trusts in reliance upon the provisions of subparagraphs (G) or (F) of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act. The foregoing investment policy does not restrict the Fund from (i) acquiring securities of other registered investment companies in connection with a merger, consolidation, reorganization, or acquisition of assets, or (ii) purchasing the securities of registered investment companies, to the extent otherwise permissible under Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act.

 

The Fund may not purchase or otherwise acquire any security if, as a result, more than 15% of its net assets would be invested in securities that are illiquid. The Fund monitors the portion of the Fund’s total assets that is invested in illiquid securities on an ongoing basis, not only at the time of investment in such securities.

Commodity Exchange Act Regulation- Exclusion from Commodity Pool Operator Definition

The Fund is operated by persons who have claimed an exclusion, granted to operators of registered investment companies like the Fund, from registration as a “commodity pool operator” with respect to the Fund under the CEA and, therefore are not subject to registration or regulation with respect to the Fund under the CEA. As a result, the Fund is limited in its ability to trade instruments subject to the CFTC’s jurisdiction, including commodity futures (which include futures on broad-based securities indexes, interest rate futures and currency futures), options on commodity futures, and certain swaps or other investments, either directly or indirectly through investments in other investment vehicles (collectively, “Commodity Interests”).

Under this exclusion, the Fund must satisfy one of the following two trading limitations whenever it establishes a new Commodity Interest position: (1) the aggregate initial margin and premiums required to establish the Fund’s Commodity Interest positions does not exceed 5% of the liquidation value of the Fund’s portfolio (after accounting for unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such investments); or (2) the aggregate net notional value of the Fund’s Commodity Interests, determined at the time the most recent position was established, does not exceed 100% of the liquidation value of the Fund’s portfolio (after accounting for unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such positions). The Fund is not required to consider its exposure to such instruments if they are held for “bona fide hedging” purposes, as such term is defined in the rules of the CFTC. In addition to meeting one of the foregoing trading limitations, the Fund may not be marketed as a commodity pool or otherwise as a vehicle for trading in the markets for Commodity Interests.

If the Fund’s operators were to lose their ability to claim this exclusion with respect to the Fund, such persons would be required to comply with certain CFTC rules regarding commodity pools that could impose additional regulatory requirements and compliance obligations.

INVESTMENT PRACTICES AND RISK FACTORS

In addition to the investment strategies and the risks described in the Fund’s Prospectus and in this SAI under Investment Objective and Strategies, the Fund may employ other investment practices and may be subject to other risks, which are described below. The Fund may engage in the practices described below to the extent consistent with its investment

 

6


objectives, strategies, policies and restrictions. However, as with any investment or investment technique, even when the Fund’s Prospectus or this discussion indicates that the Fund may engage in an activity, the Fund may not actually do so for a variety of reasons. In addition, new types of instruments and other securities may be developed and marketed from time to time. Consistent with its investment limitations, the Fund expects to invest in those new types of securities and instruments that its portfolio manager believes may assist the Fund in achieving its investment objective.

This discussion is not intended to limit the Fund’s investment flexibility, unless such a limitation is expressly stated, and therefore will be construed by the Fund as broadly as possible. Statements concerning what the Fund may do are not intended to limit any other activity.

Borrowings

The Fund may engage in borrowing transactions as a means of raising cash to satisfy redemption requests, for other temporary or emergency purposes or, to the extent permitted by its investment policies, to raise additional cash to be invested by the Fund in other securities or instruments in an effort to increase the Fund’s investment returns. Reverse repurchase agreements may be considered to be a type of borrowing.

When the Fund invests borrowing proceeds in other securities, the Fund will be at risk for any fluctuations in the market value of the securities in which the proceeds are invested. Like other leveraging risks, this makes the value of an investment in the Fund more volatile and increases the Fund’s overall investment exposure. In addition, if the Fund’s return on its investment of the borrowing proceeds does not equal or exceed the interest that the Fund is obligated to pay under the terms of a borrowing, engaging in these transactions will lower the Fund’s return.

The Fund may be required to liquidate portfolio securities at a time when it would be disadvantageous to do so in order to make payments with respect to its borrowing obligations. Interest on any borrowings will be an expense to the Fund and will reduce the value of the Fund’s shares. The Fund may borrow on a secured or on an unsecured basis. If the Fund enters into a secured borrowing arrangement, a portion of the Fund’s assets will be used as collateral. During the term of the borrowing, the Fund will remain at risk for any fluctuations in the market value of these assets in addition to any securities purchased with the proceeds of the loan. In addition, the Fund may be unable to sell the collateral at a time when it would be advantageous to do so, which could result in lower returns. The Fund would also be subject to the risk that the lender may file for bankruptcy, become insolvent, or otherwise default on its obligations to return the collateral to the Fund. In the event of a default by the lender, there may be delays, costs and risks of loss involved in the Fund’s exercising its rights with respect to the collateral or those rights may be limited by other contractual agreements or obligations or by applicable law.

The 1940 Act requires the Fund to maintain an “asset coverage” of at least 300% of the amount of its borrowings, provided that in the event that the Fund’s asset coverage falls below 300%, the Fund is required to reduce the amount of its borrowings so that it meets the 300% asset coverage threshold within three days (not including Sundays and holidays). Asset coverage means the ratio that the value of the Fund’s total assets, minus liabilities other than borrowings and other senior securities, bears to the aggregate amount of all borrowings. Although complying with this guideline would have the effect of limiting the amount that the Fund may borrow, it does not otherwise mitigate the risks of entering into borrowing transactions.

Common Stock

Common stocks are shares of ownership in a corporation or other entity that entitle the holder to a pro rata share of the profits of the corporation, if any, distributed as dividends to holders of common stock, without preference over any other shareholder or class of shareholders, including holders of the entity’s preferred stock and other senior equity securities. Common stock usually carries with it the right to vote and frequently an exclusive right to do so.

Convertible Securities

Convertible securities are fixed income securities (usually debt or preferred stock) that may be converted or exchanged for a prescribed amount of common stock or other equity securities of the same or a different issuer within a particular period of time at a specified price or formula. A convertible security entitles the holder to receive interest paid or accrued on debt or the dividend paid on preferred stock until the convertible security matures or is redeemed, converted or exchanged. Before conversion or exchange, convertible securities ordinarily provide a stream of income with generally higher yields than those of common stocks of the same or similar issuers, but lower than the yield of nonconvertible debt. However, there can be no assurance of current income because the issuers of the convertible securities may default on their obligations. Convertible

 

7


securities are usually subordinated to comparable nonconvertible debt or preferred stock, but rank senior to common stock in a corporation’s capital structure.

The value of a convertible security is generally related to (1) its yield in comparison with the yields of other securities of comparable maturity and quality that do not have a conversion privilege and/or (2) its worth, at market value, if converted or exchanged into the underlying common stock. A convertible security may be subject to redemption at the option of the issuer at a price established in the convertible security’s governing instrument, which may be less than the ultimate conversion or exchange value.

Convertible securities are subject both to the stock market risk associated with equity securities and to the credit and interest rate risks associated with fixed income securities. As the market price of the equity security underlying a convertible security falls, the convertible security tends to trade on the basis of its yield and other fixed income characteristics. As the market price of such equity security rises, the convertible security tends to trade on the basis of its equity conversion features. Investments in convertible securities generally entail less risk than investments in common stock of the same issuer.

Synthetic Convertible Securities

A synthetic convertible security is comprised of two distinct securities that together resemble convertible securities in certain respects. Synthetic convertible securities are created by combining non-convertible bonds or preferred shares with common stocks, warrants or stock call options. The options that will form elements of synthetic convertible securities will be listed on a securities exchange. The two components of a synthetic convertible security, which will be issued with respect to the same entity, generally are not offered as a unit, and may be purchased and sold by the Fund at different times. Synthetic convertible securities differ from convertible securities in certain respects, including that each component of a synthetic convertible security has a separate market value and responds differently to market fluctuations. Investing in synthetic convertible securities involves the risk normally involved in holding the securities comprising the synthetic convertible security.

Cybersecurity Risk

With the increased use of technologies such as mobile devices and Web-based or “cloud” applications, and the dependence on the Internet and computer systems to conduct business, the Fund is susceptible to operational, information security and related risks. In general, cybersecurity incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events (arising from external or internal sources) that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption, physical damage to a computer or network system or lose operational capacity. Cybersecurity attacks include, but are not limited to, infection by malicious software, such as malware or computer viruses or gaining unauthorized access to digital systems, networks or devices that are used to service the Fund’s operations (e.g., through “hacking,” “phishing” or malicious software coding) or other means for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cybersecurity attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on the Fund’s websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Recently, geopolitical tensions may have increased the scale and sophistication of deliberate cybersecurity attacks, particularly those from nation-states or from entities with nation-state backing. In addition, authorized persons could inadvertently or intentionally release confidential or proprietary information stored on the Fund’s systems.

Cybersecurity incidents affecting the Fund’s Manager, the Subadviser, and other service providers to the Fund or its shareholders (including, but not limited to, Fund accountants, custodians, sub-custodians, transfer agents and financial intermediaries) have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses to both the Fund and its shareholders, interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its net asset value, impediments to trading, the inability of Fund shareholders to transact business and the Fund to process transactions (including fulfillment of Fund share purchases and redemptions), violations of applicable privacy and other laws (including the release of private shareholder information) and attendant breach notification and credit monitoring costs, regulatory fines, penalties, litigation costs, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, forensic investigation and remediation costs, and/or additional compliance costs. Similar adverse consequences could result from cybersecurity incidents affecting issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, counterparties with which the Fund engages in transactions, governmental and other regulatory authorities, exchange and other financial market operators, banks, brokers, dealers, insurance companies and other financial institutions (including financial intermediaries and other service providers) and other parties. In addition, substantial costs may be incurred in order to safeguard against and reduce the risk of any cybersecurity incidents in the future. In addition to

 

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administrative, technological and procedural safeguards, the Fund’s Manager and the Subadviser have established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent or reduce the impact of, such cybersecurity incidents. However, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified, as well as the rapid development of new threats. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cybersecurity plans and systems put in place by its service providers or any other third parties whose operations may affect the Fund and its shareholders. The Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.

Because technology is frequently changing, new ways to carry out cyber attacks are always developing. Therefore, there is a chance that some risks have not been identified or prepared for, or that an attack may not be detected, which puts limitations on the Fund’s ability to plan for or respond to a cyber attack. Like other funds and business enterprises, the Fund, the Manager and the Subadviser and their service providers are subject to the risk of cyber incidents occurring from time to time.

Derivatives — Generally

A derivative is a financial instrument that has a value based on, or derived from, the value of one or more underlying reference instruments or measures of value or interest rates (“underlying instruments”), such as a security, a commodity, a currency, an index, an interest rate or a currency exchange rate. A derivative can also have a value based on the likelihood that an event will or will not occur. Derivatives include futures contracts, forward contracts, options and swaps.

The Fund may use derivatives for any purpose, including but not limited to, to attempt to enhance income, yield or return, as a substitute for investing directly in a security or asset, or as a hedging technique in an attempt to manage risk in the Fund’s portfolio. The Fund may choose not to make use of derivatives for a variety of reasons, and no assurance can be given that any derivatives strategy employed will be successful. The Fund’s use of derivative instruments may be limited from time to time by applicable law, availability or by policies adopted by the Board or Manager.

The Fund may utilize multiple derivative instruments and combinations of derivative instruments to seek to adjust the risk and return characteristics of its overall position. Combined positions will typically contain elements of risk that are present in each of its component transactions. It is possible that the combined position will not achieve its intended goal and will instead increase losses or risk to the Fund. Because combined positions involve multiple trades, they result in higher transaction costs and may be more difficult to open and close out.

The Fund may enter into derivatives with standardized terms that have no or few special or unusual components, which are generally traded on an exchange, as well as derivatives with more complex features, singly or in combination. Non-standardized derivatives are generally traded over the counter (“OTC”). OTC derivatives may be standardized or have customized features and may have limited or no liquidity. The Fund’s derivatives contracts may be centrally cleared or settled bilaterally directly with a counterparty. The Fund’s derivatives contracts may be cash settled or physically settled.

In addition to the instruments and strategies discussed in this section, additional opportunities in connection with derivatives and other similar or related techniques may become available to the Fund as a result of the development of new techniques, the development of new derivative instruments or a regulatory authority broadening the range of permitted transactions. The Fund may utilize these opportunities and techniques to the extent that they are consistent with the Fund’s investment objectives and permitted by its investment limitations and applicable regulatory authorities. These opportunities and techniques may involve risks different from or in addition to those summarized herein.

 

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Risks of Derivatives Generally. The use of derivatives involves special considerations and risks, certain of which are summarized below, and may result in losses to the Fund. In general, derivatives may increase the volatility of the Fund and may involve a small investment of cash relative to the magnitude of the risk or exposure assumed. Even a small investment in derivatives may magnify or otherwise increase investment losses to the Fund.

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Market risk. Derivatives can be complex, and their success depends in part upon the portfolio manager’s ability to forecast correctly future market or other trends or occurrences or other financial or economic factors or the value of the underlying instrument. Even if the portfolio manager’s forecasts are correct, other factors may cause distortions or dislocations in the markets that result in losses or otherwise unsuccessful transactions. Derivatives may behave in unexpected ways, especially in abnormal or volatile market conditions. The market value of the derivative itself or the market value of underlying instruments may change in a way that is adverse to the Fund’s interest. There is no assurance that the use of derivatives will be advantageous to the Fund or that the portfolio manager will use derivatives to hedge at an appropriate time.

 

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Illiquidity risk. The Fund’s ability to close out or unwind a derivative prior to expiration or maturity depends on the existence of a liquid market or, in the absence of such a market, the ability and willingness of the other party to the transaction (the “counterparty”) to enter into a transaction closing out the position. If there is no market or the Fund is not successful in its negotiations, the Fund may not be able to sell or unwind the derivative position at an advantageous or anticipated time or price. This may also be the case if the counterparty becomes insolvent. The Fund may be required to make delivery of portfolio securities or other underlying instruments in order to settle a position or to sell portfolio securities or assets at a disadvantageous time or price in order to obtain cash to settle the position. While a position remains open, the Fund continues to be subject to investment risk on a derivative. The Fund may or may not be able to take other actions or enter into other transactions, including hedging transactions, to limit or reduce its exposure to the derivative. Illiquidity risk may be enhanced if a derivative transaction is particularly large. Certain derivatives, including certain OTC options and swaps, may be considered illiquid and therefore subject to the Fund’s limitation on illiquid investments.

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Leverage risk. Certain derivative transactions may have a leveraging effect on the Fund, meaning that the Fund can obtain significant investment exposure in return for meeting a relatively small margin or other investment requirement. An adverse change in the value of an underlying instrument can result in losses substantially greater than the amount invested in the derivative itself. When the Fund engages in transactions that have a leveraging effect, the value of the Fund is likely to be more volatile and certain other risks also are likely to be compounded. This is because leverage generally magnifies the effect of any increase or decrease in the value of an investment. Certain derivatives have the potential for unlimited loss, regardless of the size of the initial investment.

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Margin risk. Certain derivatives require the Fund to make initial margin payments, a form of security deposit intended to protect against nonperformance of the derivative contract. The Fund may have to post additional margin (known as “variation margin”) if the value of the derivative position changes in a manner adverse to the Fund. Derivatives may be difficult to value, which may result in increased payment requirements to counterparties or a loss of value to the Fund. If the Fund has insufficient cash to meet additional margin requirements, it might need to sell securities at a disadvantageous time.

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Speculation risk. Derivatives used for non-hedging purposes may result in losses which are not offset by increases in the value of portfolio holdings or declines in the cost of securities or other assets to be acquired. In the event that the Fund uses a derivative as an alternative to purchasing or selling other investments or in order to obtain desired exposure to an index or market, the Fund will be exposed to the same risks as are incurred in purchasing or selling the other investments directly, as well as the risks of the derivative transaction itself, such as counterparty risk.

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Counterparty risk. Derivatives involve the risk of loss resulting from the actual or potential insolvency or bankruptcy of the counterparty or the failure by the counterparty to make required payments or otherwise comply with the terms of the contract. In the event of default by a counterparty (or its affiliates), the Fund may have contractual remedies pursuant to the agreements related to the transaction, which may be limited by applicable law in the case of the counterparty’s (or its affiliates’) bankruptcy. The Fund may not be able to recover amounts owed to it by an insolvent counterparty.

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Operational risk. There may be incomplete or erroneous documentation or inadequate collateral or margin, or transactions may fail to settle. The Fund may have only contractual remedies in the event of a counterparty default, and there may be delays, costs or disagreements as to the meaning of contractual terms and litigation in enforcing those remedies.

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OTC risk. Derivative transactions that are traded OTC, such as options, swaps, forward contracts, and options on foreign currencies, are entered into directly with counterparties or financial institutions acting as market makers, rather than being traded on exchanges or centrally cleared. Because OTC derivatives and other transactions are traded between counterparties based on contractual relationships, the Fund is subject to increased risk that its counterparty will not perform its obligations under the related contracts. Although the Fund intends to enter into transactions only with counterparties which the Fund believes to be creditworthy, there can be no assurance that a counterparty will not default and that the Fund will not sustain a loss on a transaction as a result. Information available on counterparty creditworthiness may be incomplete or outdated, thus reducing the ability to anticipate counterparty defaults. The Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under an OTC derivative in the event of the default or bankruptcy of the counterparty to the OTC derivative. When a counterparty’s obligations are not fully secured by collateral, then the Fund is essentially an unsecured creditor of the counterparty. If the counterparty defaults, the Fund will have contractual remedies, but there is no assurance that a counterparty will be able to meet its obligations pursuant to such contracts or that, in the event of default, the Fund will succeed in enforcing contractual remedies. Credit/counterparty risk still exists even if a counterparty’s obligations are secured by collateral because the Fund’s interest in collateral may not be perfected or additional collateral

 

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  may not be promptly posted as required. Credit/counterparty risk also may be more pronounced if a counterparty’s obligations exceed the amount of collateral held by the Fund (if any), the Fund is unable to exercise its interest in collateral upon default by the counterparty, or the termination value of the instrument varies significantly from the marked-to-market value of the instrument.
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Non-U.S. derivatives risk. Derivative transactions may be conducted OTC outside of the United States or traded on foreign exchanges. Such transactions may not be regulated as effectively as similar transactions in the United States, may not involve a clearing mechanism and related guarantees and are subject to the risk of governmental actions affecting trading in, or the price of, foreign securities or currencies. The value of such positions also could be adversely affected by (1) other foreign political, legal and economic factors, (2) lesser availability than in the United States of data on which to make trading decisions, (3) delays in the Fund’s ability to act upon economic events occurring in foreign markets during non-business hours in the United States, (4) the imposition of different exercise and settlement terms, procedures, margin requirements, fees, taxes or other charges than in the United States and (5) lesser trading volume. Counterparty risk and many of the risks of OTC derivatives transactions are also applicable to derivative transactions conducted outside the United States.

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Currency derivatives risk. Currency related transactions may be negatively affected by factors such as government exchange controls, blockages, and manipulations. Exchange rates may be influenced by factors extrinsic to a country’s economy. Also, there is no systematic reporting of last sale information with respect to foreign currencies. As a result, the information on which trading in currency derivatives is based may not be as complete as, and may be delayed beyond, comparable data for other types of transactions.

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Turnover risk. Use of derivatives involves transaction costs, which may be significant. The Fund may be required to sell or purchase investments in connection with derivative transactions, potentially increasing the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate and transaction costs. Use of derivatives also may increase the amount of taxable income to shareholders.

Risks Associated with Hedging with Derivatives. If the portfolio manager uses a hedging strategy at the wrong time or judges market conditions incorrectly, hedging strategies may reduce the Fund’s return. Successful use of derivatives to hedge positions depends on the correlation between the price of the derivative and the price of the hedged asset.

The Fund may attempt to protect against declines in the value of the Fund’s portfolio assets by entering into a variety of derivatives transactions, including selling futures contracts, entering into swaps or purchasing puts on indices or futures contracts (short hedging). Short hedging involves the risk that the prices of the futures contracts or the value of the swap or the applicable index will correlate imperfectly with price movements in the Fund’s assets. If the value of the assets held in the Fund’s portfolio declines while the Fund has used derivative instruments in a short hedge, and the prices referenced in the short hedge do not also decline, the value of the Fund’s assets would decline, and the short hedge would not hedge or mitigate the loss in the value of the assets. With respect to a derivative transaction based on an index, the risk of imperfect correlation increases as the composition of the Fund’s portfolio diverges from the assets included in the applicable index. To compensate for the imperfect correlation of movements in the price of the portfolio securities being hedged and movements in the price of the hedging instruments, the Fund may use derivative instruments in a greater dollar amount than the dollar amount of portfolio assets being hedged. It might do so if the historical volatility of the prices of the portfolio assets being hedged is more than the historical volatility of the applicable index.

If the Fund has used derivatives to hedge or otherwise reduce the Fund’s risk exposure to a particular position and then disposes of that position at a time at which it cannot also settle, terminate or close out the corresponding hedge position, this may create short investment exposure. Certain “short” derivative positions involve investment leverage, and the amount of the Fund’s potential loss is theoretically unlimited.

The Fund can use derivative instruments to establish a position in the market as a temporary substitute for the purchase of individual securities or other assets (long hedging) by buying futures contracts and/or calls on such futures contracts, indices or on securities or other assets, or entering into swaps. It is possible that when the Fund does so the market might decline. If the Fund then decides not to invest in the assets because of concerns that the market might decline further or for other reasons, the Fund will realize a loss on the hedge position that is not offset by a reduction in the price of the asset the Fund had intended to purchase.

Risk of Government Regulation of Derivatives. The regulation of derivatives transactions and funds that engage in such transactions is an evolving area of law and is subject to modification by government, self-regulatory organization and judicial

 

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action. Effective August 19, 2022, the Fund began operating under Rule 18f-4 under the 1940 Act, which, among other things, governs the use of derivative investments and certain financing transactions (e.g. reverse repurchase agreements) by registered investment companies. Among other things, Rule 18f-4 requires funds that invest in derivative instruments beyond a specified limited amount to apply a value-at-risk based limit to their use of certain derivative instruments and financing transactions and to adopt and implement a derivatives risk management program. A fund that uses derivative instruments in a limited amount is not subject to the full requirements of Rule 18f-4. Compliance with Rule 18f-4 could restrict the Fund’s ability to engage in certain derivatives transactions and/or increase the costs of such derivatives transactions, which could adversely affect the value or performance of the Fund.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) has caused broad changes to the OTC derivatives market and granted significant authority to the SEC and the CFTC to regulate OTC derivatives and market participants. Pursuant to such authority, rules have been enacted that currently require clearing of many OTC derivatives transactions and may require clearing of additional OTC derivatives transactions in the future and that impose minimum margin and capital requirements for uncleared OTC derivatives transactions. Similar regulations have been or are being adopted in other jurisdictions around the world. The implementation of the clearing requirement has increased the costs of derivatives transactions since investors have to pay fees to clearing members and are typically required to post more margin for cleared derivatives than had historically been the case. While the new rules and regulations and central clearing of some derivatives transactions are designed to reduce systemic risk (i.e., the risk that the interdependence of large derivatives dealers could cause them to suffer liquidity, solvency or other challenges simultaneously), there is no assurance that they will achieve that result, and mandatory clearing of derivatives may expose the Fund to new kinds of costs and risks.

Additionally, new regulations may result in increased uncertainty about credit/counterparty risk and may limit the flexibility of the Fund to protect its interests in the event of an insolvency of a derivatives counterparty. In the event of a counterparty’s (or its affiliate’s) insolvency, the Fund’s ability to exercise remedies, such as the termination of transactions, netting of obligations and realization on collateral, could be stayed or eliminated under the rules of the applicable exchange or clearing corporation or under relatively new special resolution regimes adopted in the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and various other jurisdictions. Such regimes provide government authorities with broad authority to intervene when a financial institution is experiencing financial difficulty. In particular, with respect to counterparties who are subject to such proceedings in the United Kingdom and the European Union, the liabilities of such counterparties to the Fund could be reduced, eliminated, or converted to equity in such counterparties (sometimes referred to as a “bail in”).

Foreign Currency Instruments and Hedging Strategies

The Fund may use options and futures contracts on foreign currencies and forward currency contracts and currency swap agreements (collectively, “Currency Instruments”), deliverable and non-deliverable, to attempt to hedge against movements in the values of the foreign currencies in which the Fund’s securities are denominated or to attempt to enhance the Fund’s return or yield. The Fund may also use such investments to attempt to establish a short position or to gain exposure to a market that would be more costly or difficult to access with other types of investments, such as bonds or currency. The Fund may also engage in foreign currency transactions on a spot (cash) basis at the rate prevailing in the currency exchange market at the time of the transaction. The Fund may determine not to hedge, and the Fund may be completely unhedged at any point in time. In cases when a particular currency is difficult to hedge or difficult to hedge against the U.S. dollar, the Fund may seek to hedge against price movements in that currency by entering into transactions using Currency Instruments on another currency or a basket of currencies, the value of which the portfolio manager believes will have a high degree of positive correlation to the value of the currency being hedged. The risk that movements in the price of the Currency Instrument will not correlate perfectly with movements in the price of the currency subject to the hedging transaction is magnified when this strategy is used.

Currency Instruments Risks. In addition to the risks found under “Derivatives – Risks of Derivatives Generally,” Currency Instruments are subject to the following risks:

The value of Currency Instruments depends on the value of the underlying foreign currency relative to the U.S. dollar. Because foreign currency transactions occurring in the interbank market might involve substantially larger amounts than those involved in the Fund’s use of such Currency Instruments, the Fund could be disadvantaged by having to deal in the odd lot market (generally consisting of transactions of less than $1 million) for the underlying foreign currencies at prices that are less favorable than for round lots. There is no systematic reporting of last sale information for foreign currencies or any regulatory requirement that quotations available through dealers or other market sources be firm or revised on a timely basis. Quotation information

 

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generally is representative of very large transactions in the interbank market and thus might not reflect odd-lot transactions where rates might be less favorable. The interbank market in foreign currencies is a global, round-the-clock market. To the extent the U.S. options or futures markets are closed while the markets for the underlying currencies remain open, significant price and rate movements might take place in the underlying markets that cannot be reflected in the U.S. markets for the Currency Instruments until they reopen.

Settlement of hedging transactions involving foreign currencies might be required to take place within the country issuing the underlying currency. Thus, the Fund might be required to accept or make delivery of the underlying foreign currency in accordance with any U.S. or foreign regulations regarding the maintenance of foreign banking arrangements by U.S. residents and might be required to pay any fees, taxes and charges associated with such delivery assessed in the issuing country.

Forward Currency Contracts

The Fund may enter into forward currency contracts to purchase or sell foreign currencies for a fixed amount of U.S. dollars or another currency at a future date and at a price set by the parties to the forward currency contract. Forward currency contracts are traded directly between currency traders (usually large commercial banks) and their customers (such as the Fund).

The Fund may purchase a forward currency contract to lock in the U.S. dollar price of a security denominated in a foreign currency that the Fund intends to acquire (a long hedge). The Fund may sell a forward currency contract to lock in the U.S. dollar equivalent of the proceeds from the anticipated sale of a security, dividend or interest payment denominated in a foreign currency (a short hedge). A “position hedge” is when the Fund owns a security denominated in, for example, euros and to protect against a possible decline in the euro’s value, the Fund enters into a forward currency contract to sell euros in return for U.S. dollars. A “position hedge” tends to offset both positive and negative currency fluctuations but would not offset changes in security values caused by other factors. A “proxy hedge” is when the Fund owns a security denominated in, for example, euros and to protect against a possible decline in the euro’s value, the Fund enters into a forward currency contract to sell a currency expected to perform similarly to the euro in return for U.S. dollars. A “proxy hedge” could offer advantages in terms of cost, yield or efficiency, but generally would not hedge currency exposure as effectively as a position hedge to the extent the proxy currency does not perform similarly to the targeted currency. The Fund could, in fact, lose money on both legs of the hedge, i.e., between the euro and proxy currency, and between the proxy currency and the dollar. The Fund also may use forward currency contracts to attempt to enhance return or yield. The Fund could use forward currency contracts to increase its exposure to foreign currencies that the portfolio manager believes might rise in value relative to the U.S. dollar, or shift its exposure to foreign currency fluctuations from one currency to another. For example, if the Fund’s portfolio manager believes that the U.S. dollar will increase in value relative to the euro, the Fund could write a forward contract to buy U.S. dollars in three months at the current price in order to sell those U.S. dollars for a profit if the U.S. dollar does in fact appreciate in value relative to the euro. The cost to the Fund of engaging in forward currency contracts varies with factors such as the currency involved, the length of the contract period and the market conditions then prevailing. Because forward currency contracts are usually entered into on a principal basis, no fees or commissions are involved. When the Fund enters into a forward currency contract, it relies on the counterparty to make or take delivery of the underlying currency at the maturity of the contract or to otherwise fulfill its obligations in connection with settlement. Failure by the counterparty to do so would result in the loss of any expected benefit of the transaction.

The precise matching of forward currency contract amounts, and the value of the securities involved generally will not be possible because the value of such securities, measured in the foreign currency, will change after the forward currency contract has been established. Thus, the Fund may need to purchase or sell foreign currencies in the spot (i.e., cash) market to the extent such foreign currencies are not covered by forward currency contracts. The projection of short-term currency market movements is extremely difficult, and the successful execution of a short-term hedging strategy is highly uncertain.

Successful use of forward currency contracts depends on the portfolio manager’s skill in analyzing and predicting currency values. Forward currency contracts may substantially change the Fund’s exposure to changes in currency exchange rates and could result in losses to the Fund if currencies do not perform as the portfolio manager anticipates. There is no assurance that the portfolio manager’s use of forward currency contracts will be advantageous to the Fund or that the portfolio manager will hedge at an appropriate time.

Non-deliverable Forwards. The consummation of a deliverable foreign exchange forward requires the actual exchange of the principal amounts of the two currencies in the contract (i.e., settlement on a physical basis). Forward currency contracts in which the Fund may engage also include non-deliverable forwards (“NDFs”). NDFs are cash-settled, forward contracts on foreign

 

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currencies (each a “Reference Currency”) that are non-convertible and that may be thinly traded or illiquid. NDFs involve an obligation to pay an amount equal to the difference between the prevailing market exchange rate for the Reference Currency and the agreed upon exchange rate, with respect to an agreed notional amount. NDFs are subject to many of the risks associated with derivatives in general and forward currency transactions, including risks associated with fluctuations in foreign currency and the risk that the counterparty will fail to fulfill its obligations.

Under the Dodd-Frank Act, NDFs are classified as “swaps” and are therefore subject to the full panoply of CFTC swap regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act. Although NDFs have historically been traded OTC, in the future, pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, they may be subject to mandatory clearing. Non-centrally-cleared NDFs are subject to mandatory minimum margin requirements for uncleared swaps. Deliverable foreign exchange forwards that solely involve the exchange of two different currencies on a specific future date at a fixed rate agreed upon by the parties are not considered “swaps” and accordingly are not subject to many of the regulations that apply to NDFs. However, as mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act and set forth in CFTC regulations adopted thereunder, foreign exchange forwards must be reported to a swap data repository, and swap dealers and major swap participants who are party to such transactions remain subject to the business conduct standards pertaining to swaps in connection with such deliverable foreign exchange forwards.

Futures Contracts and Options on Futures Contracts

Generally, a futures contract is an exchange-traded, standardized agreement that obligates the seller of the contract to deliver a specified quantity of an underlying instrument, such as a security, currency or commodity, to the purchaser of the contract, who has the obligation to take delivery of the underlying instrument, at a specified price and date. In the case of futures on indices, the two parties agree to take or make delivery of an amount of cash equal to the difference between the level of the index at the close of the last trading day of the contract and the price at which the contract originally was written. Options on futures give the purchaser the right to assume a position in a futures contract at the specified exercise price at any time during the period of the option.

Futures contracts, by their terms, have stated expirations and, at a specified point in time prior to expiration, trading in a futures contract for the current delivery month will cease. As a result, an investor wishing to maintain exposure to a futures contract with the nearest expiration must close out the position in the expiring contract and establish a new position in the contract for the next delivery month, a process referred to as “rolling.” The process of rolling a futures contract can be profitable or unprofitable depending in large part on whether the futures price for the subsequent delivery month is less than or more than the price of the expiring contract.

Futures contracts may be used for hedging and non-hedging purposes, such as to simulate full investment in the underlying instrument while retaining a cash balance for portfolio management purposes, as a substitute for direct investment in the underlying instrument, to facilitate trading, to reduce transaction costs, or to seek higher investment returns (e.g., when a futures contract or option is priced more attractively than the underlying instrument). In addition, futures strategies can be used to manage the average duration of the Fund’s fixed income portfolio, if applicable. The Fund may sell a debt futures contract or a call option thereon or purchase a put option on that futures contract to attempt to shorten the portfolio’s average duration. Alternatively, the Fund may buy a debt futures contract or a call option thereon or sell a put option thereon to attempt to lengthen the portfolio’s average duration.

At the inception of a futures contract the Fund is required to deposit “initial margin” with a futures commission merchant (“FCM”) in an amount at least equal to the amount designated by the futures exchange (typically equal to 10% or less of the contract value). Margin must also be deposited when writing a call or put option on a futures contract, in accordance with applicable exchange rules. Unlike margin in securities transactions, initial margin on futures contracts does not represent a borrowing, but rather is in the nature of a performance bond or good-faith deposit that is required to be returned to the Fund at the termination of the transaction if all contractual obligations have been satisfied. Under certain circumstances, such as periods of high volatility, the Fund may be required by an exchange to increase the level of its initial margin payment, and initial margin requirements might be increased generally in the future by regulatory action.

In addition to initial margin payments, during the life of the transaction “variation margin” payments are made to and from the FCM as the value of the margin and the underlying derivative transaction varies, a process known as “marking-to-market.” Variation margin is intended to represent a daily settlement of the Fund’s obligations to or from an FCM. When the Fund purchases an option on a futures contract, the premium paid plus transaction costs is all that is at risk. However, there may be

 

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circumstances when the purchase of an option on a futures contract would result in a loss to the Fund when the use of a futures contract would not, such as when there is no movement in the value of the securities or currencies being hedged. In that case, the Fund would lose the premium it paid for the option plus transaction costs. In contrast, when the Fund purchases or sells a futures contract or writes a call or put option thereon, it is subject to daily variation margin calls that could be substantial in the event of adverse price movements. If the Fund has insufficient cash to meet daily variation margin requirements, it might need to sell securities at a time when such sales are disadvantageous.

Although some futures and options on futures call for making or taking delivery of the underlying instrument, generally those contracts are closed out prior to delivery by offsetting purchases or sales of matching futures or options (involving the same instrument and delivery month). If an offsetting purchase price is less than the original sale price, the Fund realizes a gain, or if it is more, the Fund realizes a loss. If an offsetting sale price is more than the original purchase price, the Fund realizes a gain, or if it is less, the Fund realizes a loss. The Fund will also bear transaction costs for each contract, which will be included in these calculations. Positions in futures and options on futures may be closed only on an exchange or board of trade that provides a secondary market. However, there can be no assurance that a liquid secondary market will exist for a particular contract at a particular time. In such event, it may not be possible to close a futures contract or options position.

Under certain circumstances, futures exchanges may establish daily limits on the amount that the price of a futures contract or an option on a futures contract can vary from the previous day’s settlement price; once that limit is reached, no trades may be made that day at a price beyond the limit. Daily price limits do not limit potential losses because prices could move to the daily limit for several consecutive days with little or no trading, thereby preventing liquidation of unfavorable positions. If the Fund were unable to liquidate a futures contract or an option on a futures position due to the absence of a liquid secondary market, the imposition of price limits or otherwise, it could incur substantial losses. The Fund would continue to be subject to market risk with respect to the position. In addition, except in the case of purchased options, the Fund would continue to be required to make daily variation margin payments.

Risks of Futures Contracts and Options Thereon. In addition to the risks found under “Derivatives – Risks of Derivatives Generally,” futures contracts and options on futures contracts are subject to the following risks:

Successful use of futures contracts and related options depends upon the ability of the portfolio manager to assess movements in the direction of prices of securities, commodities, measures of value, or interest or exchange rates, which requires different skills and techniques than assessing the value of individual securities. Moreover, futures contracts relate not to the current price level of the underlying instrument, but to the anticipated price level at some point in the future; accordingly trading of stock index futures may not reflect the trading of the securities that are used to formulate the index or even actual fluctuations in the index itself. There is, in addition, the risk that movements in the price of the futures contract will not correlate with the movements in the prices of the securities being hedged. Price distortions in the marketplace, resulting from increased participation by speculators in the futures market (among other things), may also impair the correlation between movements in the prices of futures contracts and movements in the prices of the hedged securities. If the price of the futures contract moves less than the price of securities that are the subject of the hedge, the hedge will not be fully effective; but if the price of the securities being hedged has moved in an unfavorable direction, the Fund would be in a better position than if it had not hedged at all. If the price of the securities being hedged has moved in a favorable direction, this advantage may be partially offset by losses on the futures position.

Positions in futures contracts may be closed out only on an exchange or board of trade that provides a market for such futures contracts. Although the Fund intends to purchase and sell futures only on exchanges or boards of trade where there appears to be a liquid market, there is no assurance that such a market will exist for any particular contract at any particular time. In such event, it may not be possible to close a futures position and, in the event of adverse price movements, the Fund would continue to be required to make variation margin payments. Options have a limited life and thus can be disposed of only within a specific time period.

Purchasers of options on futures contracts pay a premium in cash at the time of purchase which, in the event of adverse price movements, could be lost. Sellers of options on futures contracts must post initial margin and are subject to additional margin calls that could be substantial in the event of adverse price movements. Because of the low margin deposits required, futures trading involves a high degree of leverage; as a result, a relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss, or gain, to the Fund. In addition, the Fund’s activities in the futures markets may

 

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result in a higher portfolio turnover rate (see “Portfolio Transactions and Brokerage”) and additional transaction costs in the form of added brokerage commissions.

As noted above, exchanges may impose limits on the amount by which the price of a futures contract or related option is permitted to change in a single day. If the price of a contract moves to the limit for several consecutive days, the Fund may be unable during that time to close its position in that contract and may have to continue making payments of variation margin. The CFTC and domestic exchanges have also established speculative position limits on the maximum speculative position that any person, or group of persons acting in concert, may hold or control in particular contracts. Under current regulations, other accounts managed by the Manager or, if applicable, Subadviser are combined with the positions held by the Fund under the Manager’s or, if applicable, Subadviser’s management for position limit purposes. This trading could preclude additional trading by the Fund in such contracts.

When the Fund engages in futures transactions, it will also be exposed to the credit risk of its FCM. If the Fund’s FCM becomes bankrupt or insolvent, or otherwise defaults on its obligations to the Fund, the Fund may not receive all amounts owed to it in respect of its trading, even if the clearinghouse fully discharges all of its obligations. If an FCM were not to appropriately segregate client assets to the full extent required by the CEA, the Fund might not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of an FCM. In the event of an FCM’s bankruptcy, the Fund would be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available funds segregated on behalf of an FCM’s combined customer accounts, even if certain property held by an FCM is specifically traceable to the Fund (for example, U.S. Treasury bills deposited by the Fund). Such situations could arise due to various factors, or a combination of factors, including inadequate FCM capitalization, inadequate controls on customer trading and inadequate customer capital. In addition, in the event of the bankruptcy or insolvency of a clearinghouse, the Fund might experience a loss of funds deposited through its FCM as margin with the clearinghouse, a loss of unrealized profits on its open positions and the loss of funds owed to it as realized profits on closed positions. Such a bankruptcy or insolvency might also cause a substantial delay before the Fund could obtain the return of funds owed to it by an FCM who is a member of such clearinghouse.

Options

A call option gives the purchaser the right to buy, and obligates the writer to sell, an underlying investment (such as a specified security, commodity, currency, interest rate, currency exchange rate or index) at an agreed-upon price (“strike price”). A put option gives the purchaser the right to sell, and obligates the writer to buy, an underlying investment at an agreed-upon price. An American-style option may be exercised at any time during the term of the option, while a European-style option may be exercised only at the expiration of the option. Purchasers of options pay an amount, known as a premium, to the option writer in exchange for the right granted under the option contract.

The value of an option position will reflect, among other things, the current market value of the underlying instrument, the time remaining until expiration, the relationship of the strike price to the market price of the underlying instrument, the historical price volatility of the underlying instrument and general market conditions. If the purchaser does not exercise the option, it will expire and the purchaser will have only lost the premium paid. If a secondary market exists, a purchaser or the writer may terminate a put option position prior to its exercise by selling it in the secondary market at its current price. The Fund will pay a brokerage commission each time it buys or sells an option. Such commissions may be higher than those that would apply to direct purchases or sales of the underlying instrument.

Exchange-traded options in the United States are issued by a clearing organization affiliated with the exchange on which the option is listed and are standardized with respect to the underlying instrument, expiration date, contract size and strike price. In contrast, OTC options (options not traded on exchanges) are contracts between the Fund and a counterparty (usually a securities dealer or a bank) with no clearing organization guarantee. The terms of OTC options generally are established through negotiation with the other party to the option contract (the counterparty). For a discussion on options on futures see “Futures Contracts and Options on Futures Contracts”.

Put Options. In return for receipt of the premium, the writer of a put option assumes the obligation to pay the strike price for the option’s underlying instrument if the buyer exercises the option. A put writer would generally expect to profit, although its gain would be limited to the amount of the premium it received, if the underlying instrument’s price remains greater than or equal to the strike price. If the underlying instrument’s price falls below the strike price, the put writer would expect to suffer a loss. The buyer of a put option can expect to realize a gain if the underlying instrument’s price falls enough to offset the

 

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cost of purchasing the option. Any losses suffered by the buyer would be limited to the amount of the premium plus related transaction costs.

Optional delivery standby commitments are a type of put that gives the buyer of an underlying instrument the right to sell the underlying instrument back to the seller on specified terms to induce a purchase of the underlying instrument.

Call Options. In return for the receipt of the premium, the writer of a call option assumes the obligation to sell the underlying instrument at the strike price to the buyer upon exercise of the option. A call writer would generally expect to profit, although its gain would be limited to the amount of the premium it received, if the option goes unexercised, which typically occurs when the underlying instrument’s price remains less than or equal to the strike price. If the underlying instrument’s price were to rise above the strike price, the writer of the call option would generally expect to suffer a loss, which is theoretically unlimited. A call buyer’s maximum loss is the premium paid for the call option, whereas the buyer’s maximum profit is theoretically unlimited.

Straddles. A long straddle is the purchase of a call and a put option with the same expiration date and relating to the same underlying instrument where the strike price of the put is less than or equal to the strike price of the call. The Fund may enter into a long straddle when its portfolio manager believes that the underlying instrument’s price will move significantly during the term of the options. A short straddle is a combination of a call and a put written on the same underlying instrument with the same expiration date where the strike price of the put is less than or equal to the strike price of the call. In a covered short straddle, the underlying instrument is considered cover for both the put and the call that the Fund has written. The Fund may enter into a short straddle when the portfolio manager believes that it is unlikely that the underlying instrument’s prices will experience volatility during the term of the options.

Options on Indices. Puts and calls on indices are similar to puts and calls on other underlying instruments except that all settlements are in cash and gains or losses depend on changes in the level of the index rather than on price movements of individual underlying instruments. The writer of a call on an index receives a premium and the obligation to pay the purchaser an amount of cash equal to the difference between the closing level of the index and the strike price times a specified multiple (“multiplier”), if the closing level of the index is greater than the strike price of the call. The writer of a put on an index receives a premium and the obligation to deliver to the buyer an amount of cash equal to the difference between the closing level of the index and strike price times the multiplier if the closing level is less than the strike price.

Risks of Options – In addition to the risks described under “Derivatives – Risks of Derivatives Generally,” options are also subject to the following risks:

Options on Indices Risk. The risks of investment in options on indices may be greater than options on securities and other instruments. Because index options are settled in cash, when the Fund writes a call on an index it generally cannot provide in advance for other underlying instruments because it may not be practical for the call writer to hedge its potential settlement obligations by acquiring and holding the underlying securities. The Fund can offset some of the risk of writing a call index option by holding a diversified portfolio of securities similar to those on which the underlying index is based. However, the Fund cannot, as a practical matter, acquire and hold a portfolio containing exactly the same securities as underlie the index and, as a result, bears a risk that the value of the securities held will vary from the value of the index.

If the Fund exercises an index option before the closing index value for that day is available, there is the risk that the level of the underlying index may subsequently change. If such a change causes the exercised option to fall out-of-the-money, the Fund will be required to pay the difference between the closing index value and the strike price of the option (times the applicable multiplier) to the assigned writer.

Timing Risk. The hours of trading for options may not conform to the hours during which the underlying instrument are traded. To the extent that the options markets close before the markets for the underlying instrument, significant price and rate movements can take place in the underlying markets that cannot be reflected in the options markets. Options are marked to market daily and their value will be affected by changes in the value of the underlying instrument, changes in the dividend rates of the underlying securities, an increase in interest rates, changes in the actual or perceived volatility of the stock market and the underlying instrument and the remaining time to the options’ expiration. Additionally, the exercise price of an option may be adjusted downward before the option’s expiration as a result of the occurrence of certain corporate or other events affecting the underlying instrument, such as extraordinary dividends, stock splits, merger or other extraordinary distributions or events. A reduction in the exercise price of an option would reduce the Fund’s capital appreciation potential on an underlying instrument.

 

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Swaps

Generally, a swap agreement involves the exchange between two parties of their respective commitments to pay or receive cash flows, e.g., an exchange of floating rate payments for fixed-rate payments. Swaps may be negotiated bilaterally and traded OTC (OTC swaps) or, for certain types of swaps, must be executed through a centralized exchange or regulated facility and be cleared through a regulated clearinghouse (cleared swaps). Swaps include but are not limited to, interest rate swaps, total return swaps, index swaps, inflation indexed swaps, currency swaps, credit default swaps and options on swaps or “swaptions”.

OTC swap agreements can be individually negotiated and structured to include exposure to a variety of different types of investments (such as individual securities, baskets of securities and securities indices) or market factors. The swapped returns are generally calculated with respect to a notional amount, that is, the nominal or face amount used to calculate the payments to be made between the parties to the OTC swap.

The Fund may enter into a swap agreement for hedging or non-hedging purposes, including but not limited to, to enhance returns, increase liquidity, protect against currency and security price fluctuations, manage duration and gain exposure to certain markets or securities in a more cost-efficient manner.

Risks of Swaps Generally. In addition to the risks found under “Derivatives – Risks of Derivatives Generally,” swaps are subject to the following risks:

Depending on their structure, swap agreements may increase or decrease the overall volatility of the Fund’s investments and its share price and yield and may affect the Fund’s exposure to long- or short-term interest rates (in the United States or abroad), foreign currency values, mortgage-backed security values, corporate borrowing rates or other market factors such as security prices or inflation rates.

Swap agreements will tend to shift the Fund’s investment exposure from one type of investment to another. For example, if the Fund agrees to exchange payments in U.S. dollars for payments in foreign currency, the swap agreement would tend to decrease the Fund’s exposure to U.S. interest rates and increase its exposure to foreign currency and interest rates.

The absence of a central exchange or market for swap transactions may lead, in some instances, to difficulties in trading and valuation, especially in the event of market disruptions.

Cleared Swaps. Relatively recent legislation and implementing regulation require certain swaps to be cleared through a regulated clearinghouse. Although this clearing mechanism is generally intended to reduce counterparty credit risk, it may disrupt or limit the swap market and may result in swaps being more difficult to trade or value. As swaps become more standardized, the Fund may not be able to enter into swaps that meet its investment needs. The Fund also may not be able to find a clearing member and clearinghouse willing to accept a swap for clearing. In a cleared swap, a central clearing organization will be the counterparty to the transaction. The Fund will assume the risk that the clearinghouse and the clearing member through which the Fund holds its position may be unable to or otherwise fail to perform their obligations.

When the Fund enters into a cleared swap transaction, the Fund is subject to the credit and counterparty risk of the clearinghouse and the clearing member through which it holds its cleared position. Credit/counterparty risk of market participants with respect to centrally cleared swaps is concentrated in a few clearinghouses, and it is not clear how an insolvency proceeding of a clearinghouse would be conducted and what impact an insolvency of a clearinghouse would have on the financial system. A clearing member is obligated by contract and by applicable regulation to segregate all funds received from customers with respect to cleared derivatives transactions from the clearing member’s proprietary assets. However, all funds and other property received by a clearing broker from its customers generally are held by the clearing broker on a commingled basis in an omnibus account by account class, and the clearing member may invest those funds in certain instruments permitted under the applicable regulations. The assets of the Fund might not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of the Fund’s clearing member, because the Fund would be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available funds segregated on behalf of the clearing broker’s customers for a relevant account class. Also, the clearing member is required to transfer to the clearing organization the amount of margin required by the clearing organization for cleared derivatives, which amounts generally are held in an omnibus account at the clearing organization for all customers of the clearing member. Regulations promulgated by the CFTC require that the clearing member notify the clearinghouse of the amount of initial margin provided by the clearing member to the clearing organization that is attributable to each cleared swaps customer. However, if the clearing member does not provide accurate reporting, the Fund is subject to the risk that a clearing organization will use the Fund’s assets held in an omnibus account at the clearing organization to satisfy payment obligations of a defaulting customer of

 

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the clearing member to the clearing organization. In addition, clearing members generally provide to the clearing organization the net amount of variation margin required for cleared swaps for all of its customers in the aggregate, rather than the gross amount of each customer. The Fund is therefore subject to the risk that a clearing organization will not make variation margin payments owed to the Fund if another customer of the clearing member has suffered a loss and is in default, and the risk that the Fund will be required to provide additional variation margin to the clearinghouse before the clearinghouse will move the Fund’s cleared derivatives transactions to another clearing member. In addition, if a clearing member does not comply with the applicable regulations or its agreement with the Fund, or in the event of fraud or misappropriation of customer assets by a clearing member, the Fund could have only an unsecured creditor claim in an insolvency of the clearing member with respect to the margin held by the clearing member.

In some ways, centrally cleared swaps arrangements are less favorable to the Fund than OTC swaps arrangements. For example, the Fund may be required to provide greater amounts of margin for cleared swaps than for OTC swaps. Also, in contrast to OTC swaps, following a period of notice to the Fund, a clearing member generally can require termination of existing cleared swaps at any time or increases in margin requirements above the margin that the clearing member required at the beginning of a transaction. Clearinghouses also have broad rights to increase margin requirements for existing transactions or to terminate transactions at any time. Any increase in margin requirements or termination by the clearing member or the clearinghouse could interfere with the ability of the Fund to pursue its investment strategy. Further, any increase in margin requirements by a clearing member could also expose the Fund to greater credit risk of its clearing member, because margin for cleared swaps in excess of clearinghouse margin requirements typically is held by the clearing member. While the documentation in place between the Fund and its clearing members generally provides that the clearing members will accept for clearing all transactions submitted for clearing that are within credit limits (specified in advance) for the Fund, the Fund is still subject to the risk that no clearing member will be willing or able to clear a transaction. In those cases, the transaction might have to be terminated, and the Fund could lose some or all of the benefit of the transaction, including loss of an increase in the value of the transaction and/or loss of hedging protection offered by the transaction. In addition, the documentation governing the relationship between the Fund and its clearing members is developed by the clearing members and generally is less favorable to the Fund than typical OTC swap documentation. For example, this documentation generally includes a one-way indemnity by the Fund in favor of the clearing member, indemnifying the clearing member against losses it incurs in connection with acting as the Fund’s clearing member, and the documentation typically does not give the Fund any rights to exercise remedies if the clearing member defaults or becomes insolvent.

Some types of cleared swaps are required to be executed on an exchange or on a swap execution facility (“SEF”). A SEF is a trading platform where multiple market participants can execute swaps by accepting bids and offers made by multiple other participants in the platform. While this execution requirement is designed to increase transparency and liquidity in the cleared swap market, trading on a SEF can create additional costs and risks for the Fund. For example, SEFs typically charge fees, and if the Fund executes swaps on a SEF through a broker intermediary, the intermediary may impose fees as well. Also, the Fund may indemnify a SEF, or a broker intermediary who executes cleared swaps on a SEF on the Fund’s behalf, against any losses or costs that may be incurred as a result of the Fund’s transactions on the SEF.

The Fund may enter into swap transactions with certain counterparties pursuant to master netting agreements. A master netting agreement provides that all swaps entered into between the Fund and that counterparty shall be regarded as parts of an integral agreement. If amounts are payable on a particular date in the same currency in respect of more than one swap transaction, the amount payable shall be the net amount. In addition, the master netting agreement may provide that if one party (or its affiliates) defaults generally or on any swap, the counterparty can terminate all outstanding swaps with that party. As a result, to the extent the Fund enters into master netting agreements with a counterparty, the Fund may be required to terminate a greater number of swap agreements than if it had not entered into such an agreement, which may result in losses to the Fund.

Interest Rate Swaps, Caps and Floors. Interest rate swaps are agreements between two parties to exchange interest rate payment obligations. Typically, one party’s obligation is based on a fixed interest rate while the other party’s obligation is based on an interest rate that fluctuates with changes in a designated benchmark. An interest rate cap transaction entitles the purchaser, to the extent that a specified index exceeds a predetermined value, to receive payments on a notional principal amount from the party selling the cap. An interest rate floor transaction entitles the purchaser, to the extent that a specified index falls below a predetermined value, to receive payments on a notional principal amount from the party selling the floor. A

 

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collar combines elements of buying a cap and a floor. Caps and floors have an effect similar to buying or writing options. Caps and floors typically have lower liquidity than swaps.

Options on Swaps (“Swaptions”). A swaption is a contract that gives the counterparty the right, but not the obligation to enter into a new swap agreement or to shorten, extend, cancel or otherwise modify an existing swap agreement, at some designated future time on specified terms. The Fund may write (sell) and purchase put and call swaptions. Swaptions are generally subject to the same risks involved in the use of options and swaps. Depending on the terms of the option agreement, the Fund will generally incur a greater degree of risk when it writes a swaption than it will incur when it purchases a swaption. When the Fund purchases a swaption, only the amount of premium the Fund paid is at risk should the option expire unexercised. However, when the Fund writes a swaption, upon exercise of the option the Fund will become obligated according to the terms of the underlying agreement, which may result in losses to the Fund in excess of the premium it received.

Equity Securities

Equity securities include exchange-traded and over-the-counter common and preferred stocks, warrants and rights, and securities convertible into common stocks. Equity securities fluctuate in price based on changes in a company’s financial condition and overall market and economic conditions. The value of a particular security may decline due to factors that affect a particular industry or industries, such as an increase in production costs, competitive conditions or labor shortages; or due to general market conditions, such as real or perceived adverse economic conditions, changes in the general outlook for corporate earnings, changes in interest or currency rates or generally adverse investor sentiment. The value of an equity security can be more volatile than the market as a whole and can perform differently from the value of the market as a whole. The value of a company’s equity securities may deteriorate because of a variety of factors, including disappointing earnings reports by the issuer, unsuccessful products or services, loss of major customers, major litigation against the issuer or changes in government regulations affecting the issuer or the competitive environment.

Exchange Traded Funds (“ETFs”)

ETFs are ownership interests in investment companies, unit investment trusts, depositary receipts and other pooled investment vehicles that are traded on an exchange and that hold a portfolio of securities or other financial instruments (the “Underlying Assets”). The Underlying Assets are typically selected to correspond to the securities that comprise a particular broad based sector or international index, or to provide exposure to a particular industry sector or asset class, including precious metals or other commodities. “Short ETFs” seek a return similar to the inverse, or a multiple of the inverse, of a reference index. Short ETFs carry additional risks because their Underlying Assets may include a variety of financial instruments, including futures and options on futures, options on securities and securities indexes, swap agreements and forward contracts, and a short ETF may engage in short sales. An ETF’s losses on short sales are potentially unlimited; however, the Fund’s risk would be limited to the amount it invested in the ETF. Certain ETFs are actively managed by a portfolio manager or management team that makes investment decisions on Underlying Assets without seeking to replicate the performance of a reference index or industry sector or asset class.

Unlike shares of typical open-end management investment companies or unit investment trusts, shares of ETFs are designed to be traded throughout the trading day and bought and sold based on market price rather than net asset value. Shares can trade at either a premium or discount to net asset value. The portfolios held by ETFs are typically publicly disclosed on each trading day and an approximation of actual net asset value is disseminated throughout the trading day. Because of this transparency, the trading prices of ETFs tend to closely track the actual net asset value of the Underlying Assets and the ETF will generally gain or lose value depending on the performance of the Underlying Assets. In the future, as new products become available, the Fund may invest in ETFs that do not have this same level of transparency and, therefore, may be more likely to trade at a larger discount or premium to actual net asset values.

Gains or losses on the Fund’s investment in ETFs will ultimately depend on the purchase and sale price of the ETF. An active trading market for an ETF’s shares may not develop or be maintained and trading of an ETF’s shares may be halted if the listing exchange’s officials deem such action appropriate, the shares are delisted from the exchange or the activation of market-wide “circuit breakers” (which are tied to large decreases in stock prices) halts stock trading generally. The performance of an ETF will be reduced by transaction and other expenses, including fees paid by the ETF to service providers. Investors in ETFs are eligible to receive their portion of income, if any, accumulated on the securities held in the portfolio, less fees and expenses of the ETF.

 

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An investment in an ETF involves risks similar to investing directly in the Underlying Assets, including the risk that the value of the Underlying Assets may fluctuate in accordance with changes in the financial condition of their issuers, the value of securities and other financial instruments generally, and other market factors.

If an ETF is a registered investment company (as defined in the 1940 Act), the limitations applicable to the Fund’s ability to purchase securities issued by other investment companies apply absent certain exemptive rules or other available exemptive relief. However, under Rule 12d1-4, the Fund may invest in other investment companies, including ETFs, in excess of these limits, subject to certain conditions. These restrictions may limit the Fund’s ability to invest in ETFs to the extent desired. Some ETFs are not structured as investment companies and thus are not regulated under the 1940 Act.

Foreign Securities

The risks of investing in securities of non-U.S. issuers or issuers with significant exposure to non-U.S. markets may be related, among other things, to (i) differences in size, liquidity and volatility of, and the degree and manner of regulation of, the securities markets of certain non-U.S. markets compared to the securities markets in the U.S.; (ii) economic, political and social factors; and (iii) foreign exchange matters, such as restrictions on the repatriation of capital, fluctuations in exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the currencies in which the Fund’s portfolio securities are quoted or denominated, exchange control regulations and costs associated with currency exchange. The political and economic structures in certain foreign countries, particularly emerging markets, are expected to undergo significant evolution and rapid development, and such countries may lack the social, political and economic stability characteristic of more developed countries.

Unanticipated political or social developments may affect the values of the Fund’s investments in such countries. The economies and securities and currency markets of many emerging markets have experienced significant disruption and declines. There can be no assurances that these economic and market disruptions will not continue.

Legal remedies available to investors in certain foreign countries may be less extensive than those available to investors in the U.S. or other foreign countries. Accounting standards in other countries are also not necessarily the same as in the United States. If the accounting standards in another country do not require as much detail as U.S. accounting standards, it may be harder for the portfolio manager to completely and accurately determine a company’s financial condition. In addition, the U.S. Government has from time to time in the past imposed restrictions, through penalties and otherwise, on foreign investments by U.S. investors such as the Fund. Also, brokerage commissions and other costs of buying or selling securities often are higher in foreign countries than they are in the U.S. This reduces the amount the Fund can earn on its investments.

The Fund generally holds its foreign securities and cash in foreign banks and securities depositories. Some foreign banks and securities depositories may be recently organized or new to the foreign custody business. In addition, there may be limited or no regulatory oversight over their operations. Also, the laws of certain countries may put limits on the Fund’s ability to recover its assets if a foreign bank or depository or issuer of a security or any of their agents goes bankrupt. In addition, it is often more expensive for the Fund to buy, sell and hold securities in certain foreign markets than in the U.S. The increased expense of investing in foreign markets reduces the amount the Fund can earn on its investments and typically results in a higher operating expense ratio for the Fund as compared to investment companies that invest only in the United States.

Securities of some foreign companies have lower liquidity, and their prices are more volatile, than securities of comparable domestic companies. Certain foreign countries are known to experience long delays between the trade and settlement dates of securities purchased or sold resulting in increased exposure of the Fund to market and foreign exchange fluctuations brought about by such delays, and to the corresponding negative impact on Fund liquidity.

Foreign Currency Risks

The U.S. dollar value of securities denominated in a foreign currency will vary with changes in currency exchange rates, which can be volatile. Accordingly, changes in the value of the currency in which the Fund’s investments are denominated relative to the U.S. dollar will affect the Fund’s net asset value. Exchange rates are generally affected by the forces of supply and demand in the international currency markets, the relative merits of investing in different countries and the intervention or failure to intervene of U.S. or foreign governments and central banks. However, currency exchange rates may fluctuate based on factors intrinsic to a country’s economy. Some emerging market countries also may have managed currencies, which are not free floating against the U.S. dollar. In addition, emerging markets are subject to the risk of restrictions upon the free conversion of their

 

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currencies into other currencies. Any devaluations relative to the U.S. dollar in the currencies in which the Fund’s securities are quoted would reduce the Fund’s net asset value per share.

Investment in Emerging Markets

Investors are strongly advised to consider carefully the special risks involved in emerging markets, which are in addition to the usual risks of investing in developed foreign markets around the world.

The risks of investing in securities in emerging countries include: (i) less social, political and economic stability; (ii) the smaller size of the markets for such securities and lower volume of trading, which result in a lack of liquidity and in greater price volatility; (iii) certain national policies that may restrict the Fund’s investment opportunities, including restrictions on investment in issuers or industries deemed sensitive to national interests; (iv) foreign taxation; (v) the absence of developed structures governing private or foreign investment or allowing for judicial redress for injury to private property; and (vi) military unrest, war and terrorism.

Investors should note that upon the accession to power of authoritarian regimes, the governments of a number of emerging market countries previously expropriated large quantities of real and personal property similar to the property which may be represented by the securities purchased by the Fund. The claims of property owners against those governments were never finally settled. There can be no assurance that any property represented by securities purchased by the Fund will not also be expropriated, nationalized, or otherwise confiscated at some time in the future. If such confiscation were to occur, the Fund could lose a substantial portion or all of its investments in such countries. The Fund’s investments would similarly be adversely affected by exchange control regulation in any of those countries.

Certain countries in which the Fund may invest may have vocal groups that advocate radical religious or revolutionary philosophies or support ethnic independence. Any disturbance on the part of such individuals could carry the potential for widespread destruction or confiscation of property owned by individuals and entities foreign to such country and could cause the loss of the Fund’s investment in those countries.

Settlement mechanisms in emerging market securities may be less efficient and reliable than in more developed markets. In such emerging securities markets there may be delays and failures in share registration and delivery. In certain markets there have been times when settlements have been unable to keep pace with the volume of securities transactions, making it difficult to conduct such transactions. The inability of the Fund to make intended securities purchases due to settlement problems could cause the Fund to miss attractive investment opportunities. Inability to dispose of a portfolio security caused by settlement problems could result either in losses to the Fund due to subsequent declines in the value of the portfolio security or, if the Fund has entered into a contract to sell the security, in possible liability to the purchaser. There may also be a danger that, because of uncertainties in the operation of settlement systems in individual markets, competing claims may arise in respect of securities held by or to be transferred to the Fund. Furthermore, compensation schemes may be non-existent, limited or inadequate to meet the Fund’s claims in any of these events.

Inflation and rapid fluctuations in inflation rates have had, and may continue to have, very negative effects on the economies and securities markets of certain emerging markets. While some emerging market countries have sought to develop a number of corrective mechanisms to reduce inflation or mitigate its effects, inflation may continue to have significant effects both on emerging market economies and their securities markets. In addition, many of the currencies of emerging market countries have experienced steady devaluations relative to the U.S. dollar and major devaluations have occurred in certain countries. Economies in emerging markets generally are heavily dependent upon international trade and, accordingly, have been and may continue to be affected adversely by economic conditions, trade barriers, exchange controls, managed adjustments in relative currency values and other protectionist measures imposed or negotiated by the countries with which they trade.

Because of the high levels of foreign-denominated debt owed by many emerging market countries, fluctuating exchange rates can significantly affect the debt service obligations of those countries. This could, in turn, affect local interest rates, profit margins and exports, which are a major source of foreign exchange earnings.

To the extent an emerging market country faces a liquidity crisis with respect to its foreign exchange reserves, it may increase restrictions on the outflow of any foreign exchange. Repatriation is ultimately dependent on the ability of the Fund to liquidate its investments and convert the local currency proceeds obtained from such liquidation into U.S. dollars. Where this conversion must be done through official channels (usually the central bank or certain authorized commercial banks), the ability

 

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to obtain U.S. dollars is dependent on the availability of such U.S. dollars through those channels and, if available, upon the willingness of those channels to allocate those U.S. dollars to the Fund. The Fund’s ability to obtain U.S. dollars may be adversely affected by any increased restrictions imposed on the outflow of foreign exchange. If the Fund is unable to repatriate any amounts due to exchange controls, it may be required to accept an obligation payable at some future date by the central bank or other governmental entity of the jurisdiction involved. If such conversion can legally be done outside official channels, either directly or indirectly, the Fund’s ability to obtain U.S. dollars may not be affected as much by any increased restrictions except to the extent of the price which may be required to be paid in U.S. dollars. Furthermore, repatriation of investment income, capital and the proceeds of sales by foreign investors may require governmental registration and/or approval in some countries.

Many emerging market countries have little experience with the corporate form of business organization and may not have well-developed corporation and business laws or concepts of fiduciary duty in the business context. The Fund may encounter substantial difficulties in obtaining and enforcing judgments against individuals and companies located in certain emerging market countries. It may be difficult or impossible to obtain or enforce legislation or remedies against governments, their agencies and sponsored entities.

Disclosure and regulatory standards in emerging markets in many respects are less stringent than in the United States and other major markets. There also may be a lower level of monitoring and regulation of emerging markets and the activities of investors in such markets; enforcement of existing regulations has been extremely limited. Additionally, accounting, auditing and financial reporting and recordkeeping standards in emerging markets may not provide the same degree of investor protection or information to investors as would generally apply in more developed markets. The Public Accounting Oversight Board, which regulates auditors of U.S. public companies, is unable to inspect audit work papers in certain foreign or emerging market countries.

Trading in the securities of emerging markets presents additional credit and financial risks. The Fund may have limited access to, or there may be a limited number of, potential counterparties that trade in the securities of emerging market issuers. Governmental regulations may restrict potential counterparties to certain financial institutions located or operating in the particular emerging market. Potential counterparties may not possess, adopt or implement creditworthiness standards, financial reporting standards or legal and contractual protections similar to those in developed markets. Currency hedging techniques may not be available or may be limited. The Fund may not be able to reduce or mitigate risks related to trading with emerging market counterparties.

The risk also exists that an emergency situation may arise in one or more emerging markets as a result of which trading of securities may cease or may be substantially curtailed and prices for the Fund’s portfolio securities in such markets may not be readily available. Section 22(e) of the 1940 Act permits a registered investment company to suspend redemption of its shares for any period during which an emergency exists, as determined by the SEC. Accordingly, if the Fund believes that appropriate circumstances warrant, it may apply to the SEC for a determination that an emergency exists within the meaning of Section 22(e) of the 1940 Act. During the period commencing from the Fund’s identification of such conditions until the date of SEC action, the portfolio securities in the affected markets will be valued at fair value as determined by the Manager in accordance with the Fund’s valuation policy.

Although it might be theoretically possible to hedge for anticipated income and gains, the ongoing and indeterminate nature of the risks associated with emerging market investing (and the costs associated with hedging transactions) makes it very difficult to hedge effectively against such risks.

Europe — Recent Events

A number of countries in Europe have experienced severe economic and financial difficulties. Many non-governmental issuers, and even certain governments, have defaulted on, or been forced to restructure, their debts; many other issuers have faced difficulties obtaining credit or refinancing existing obligations; financial institutions have in many cases required government or central bank support, have needed to raise capital, and/or have been impaired in their ability to extend credit; and financial markets in Europe and elsewhere have experienced extreme volatility and declines in asset values and liquidity. These difficulties may continue, worsen or spread within and outside of Europe. Responses to the financial problems by European governments, central banks and others, including austerity measures and reforms, may not work, may result in social unrest and may limit future growth and economic recovery or have other unintended consequences. Further defaults or restructurings by

 

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governments and others of their debt could have additional adverse effects on economies, financial markets and asset valuations around the world.

In addition, the United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31, 2020, commonly referred to as “Brexit.” Following a transition period, the United Kingdom’s post-Brexit trade agreement with the European Union passed into law in December 2020, was provisionally applied effective January 1, 2021, and formally entered into force on May 1, 2021. There is significant market uncertainty regarding Brexit’s ramifications. The range and potential implications of possible political, regulatory, economic, and market outcomes cannot be fully known but could be significant, potentially resulting in increased volatility and illiquidity and lower economic growth for companies that rely significantly on Europe for their business activities and revenues. The United Kingdom has one of the largest economies in Europe and is a major trading partner with the European Union countries and the United States. Brexit may create additional and substantial economic stresses for the United Kingdom, including a contraction of the United Kingdom’s economy, decreased trade, capital outflows, devaluation of the British pound, as well as a decrease in business and consumer spending and investment. The negative impact on not only the United Kingdom and other European economies but also the broader global economy could be significant. Moreover, other countries may seek to withdraw from the European Union and/or abandon the euro, the common currency of the European Union. A number of countries in Europe have suffered terror attacks, and additional attacks may occur in the future. Europe has also been struggling with mass migration from the Middle East and Africa.

The ultimate effects of these events and other socio-political or geopolitical issues are not known but could profoundly affect global economies and markets. Whether or not the Fund invests in securities of issuers located in Europe or with significant exposure to European issuers or countries, these events could negatively affect the value and liquidity of the Fund’s investments.

Risks Related to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the resulting responses by the United States and other countries, and the potential for wider conflict could increase volatility and uncertainty in the financial markets and adversely affect regional and global economies. The United States and other countries have imposed broad-ranging economic sanctions on Russia, certain Russian individuals, banking entities and corporations, and Belarus as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and may impose sanctions on other countries that provide military or economic support to Russia. The extent and duration of Russia’s military actions and the repercussions of such actions (including any retaliatory actions or countermeasures that may be taken by those subject to sanctions, including cyber attacks) are impossible to predict, but could result in significant market disruptions, including in certain industries or sectors, such as the oil and natural gas markets, and may negatively affect global supply chains, inflation and global growth. These and any related events could significantly impact the Fund’s performance and the value of an investment in the Fund, even if the Fund does not have direct exposure to Russian issuers or issuers in other countries affected by the invasion.

Depositary Receipts

Depositary receipts demonstrate ownership of shares of a foreign issuer and are alternatives to directly purchasing the underlying foreign security. Depositary receipts may be sponsored or unsponsored and include American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”), European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”) and non-voting depositary receipts (“NVDRs”). ADRs in registered form are typically issued by a U.S. bank or trust company, traded in U.S. dollars, and are designed for use in the domestic market. GDRs, EDRs, NVDRs and other similar instruments may be issued by a U.S. or non-U.S. entity and may be traded in other currencies. GDRs are tradable both in the United States and Europe and are designed for use throughout the world. EDRs are issued in bearer form and are designed for use in European securities markets.

Depositary receipts in general are subject to many of the risks associated with foreign investing (e.g., increased market, illiquidity, currency, political, information and other risks), and even where traded in U.S. dollars are subject to currency risk if the underlying security is traded in a foreign currency. Unsponsored depositary receipts are issued without the participation of the issuer of the underlying foreign security and there may be less information available about such issuers than there is with respect to domestic companies and issuers of securities underlying sponsored depositary receipts. Even if there is information available, there may not be a correlation between such information and the market value of the depositary receipts.

 

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Illiquid Investments and Restricted Securities

The Fund may invest up to 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments. An illiquid security is any security which the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the security. To the extent required by applicable law and SEC guidance, the Fund will not acquire an illiquid security if such acquisition would cause the aggregate value of illiquid securities to exceed 15% of the Fund’s net assets. If at any time the portfolio manager determines that the value of illiquid securities held by the Fund exceeds 15% of the Fund’s net assets, the portfolio manager will take such steps as it considers appropriate to reduce the percentage within a reasonable period of time consistent with applicable regulatory requirements. Because illiquid investments may not be readily marketable, the Fund may not be able to dispose of them in a timely manner. As a result, the Fund may be forced to hold illiquid investments while their price depreciates. Depreciation in the price of illiquid investments may cause the net asset value of the Fund to decline.

Restricted securities are securities subject to legal or contractual restrictions on their resale, such as private placements. Such restrictions might prevent the sale of restricted securities at a time when the sale would otherwise be desirable. Under SEC regulations, certain restricted securities acquired through private placements can be traded freely among qualified purchasers. While restricted securities are generally presumed to be illiquid, it may be determined that a particular restricted security is liquid. Investing in these restricted securities could have the effect of increasing the Fund’s illiquidity if qualified purchasers become, for a time, uninterested in buying these securities.

Restricted securities may be sold only (1) pursuant to SEC Rule 144A or another exemption, (2) in privately negotiated transactions or (3) in public offerings with respect to which a registration statement is in effect under the 1933 Act. Rule 144A securities, although not registered in the U.S., may be sold to qualified institutional buyers in accordance with Rule 144A under the 1933 Act. As noted above, the Fund may determine that some Rule 144A securities are liquid. Where registration is required, the Fund may be obligated to pay all or part of the registration expenses and a considerable period may elapse between the time of the decision to sell and the time the Fund may be permitted to sell a restricted security under an effective registration statement. If, during such a period, adverse market conditions were to develop, the Fund might obtain a less favorable price than prevailed when it decided to sell.

Illiquid securities may be difficult to value, and the Fund may have difficulty disposing of such securities promptly. The Fund does not consider non-U.S. securities to be restricted if they can be freely sold in the principal markets in which they are traded, even if they are not registered for sale in the U.S.

Liquidity Risk Management. Rule 22e-4 under the 1940 Act requires, among other things, that the Fund and other Legg Mason open-end funds establish a liquidity risk management program (“LRMP”) that is reasonably designed to assess and manage liquidity risk. Rule 22e-4 defines “liquidity risk” as the risk that a fund could not meet requests to redeem shares issued by the fund without significant dilution of the remaining investors’ interests in the fund. The Fund has implemented a LRMP to meet the relevant requirements. Additionally, the Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees, approved the designation of the Fund’s LRMP administrator to administer such program and will review no less frequently than annually a written report prepared by the LRMP administrator that addresses the operation of the LRMP and assesses its adequacy and effectiveness of implementation. Among other things, the LRMP provides for the classification of each Fund investment as a “highly liquid investment,” “moderately liquid investment,” “less liquid investment” or “illiquid investment.” The liquidity risk classifications of the Fund’s investments are determined after reasonable inquiry and taking into account relevant market, trading and investment-specific considerations. To the extent that a Fund investment is deemed to be an “illiquid investment” or a “less liquid investment,” the Fund can expect to be exposed to greater illiquidity risk. There is no guarantee the LRMP will be effective in its operations, and complying with Rule 22e-4, including bearing related costs, could impact the Fund’s performance and its ability to achieve its investment objective.

Investments by Other Funds and by Other Significant Investors

Certain investment companies, including those that are affiliated with the Fund because they are managed by the Manager or an affiliate of the Manager, may invest in the Fund and may at times have substantial investments in one or more funds. Other investors also may at times have substantial investments in one or more funds.

From time to time, the Fund may experience relatively large redemptions or investments due to transactions in Fund shares by a fund or other significant investor. The effects of these transactions could adversely affect the Fund’s performance. In

 

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the event of such redemptions or investments, the Fund could be required to sell securities or to invest cash at a time when it is not advantageous to do so. Such transactions may increase brokerage and/or other transaction costs of the Fund. A large redemption could cause the Fund’s expenses to increase and could result in the Fund becoming too small to be economically viable. Redemptions of Fund shares could also accelerate the realization of taxable capital gains in the Fund if sales of securities result in capital gains. The impact of these transactions is likely to be greater when a fund or other significant investor purchases, redeems, or owns a substantial portion of the Fund’s shares.

The Manager and the Subadviser are subject to potential conflicts of interest in connection with investments in the Fund by an affiliated fund due to their affiliation. For example, the Manager or the Subadviser could have the incentive to permit an affiliated fund to become a more significant shareholder (with the potential to cause greater disruption) than would be permitted for an unaffiliated investor. Investments by an affiliated fund may also give rise to conflicts in connection with the voting of fund shares. The Manager, the Subadviser and/or its advisory affiliates intend to seek to address these potential conflicts of interest in the best interests of the Fund’s shareholders, although there can be no assurance that such efforts will be successful. The Manager and the Subadviser will consider how to minimize potential adverse impacts of affiliated fund investments, and, may take such actions as each deems appropriate to address potential adverse impacts, including redemption of shares in-kind, rather than in cash.

Investments in Other Investment Companies

Subject to applicable statutory and regulatory limitations described below, the Fund may invest in shares of other investment companies, including shares of open-end and closed-end investment companies affiliated or unaffiliated with the Fund, business development companies, exchange-traded funds and unregistered investment companies.

An investment in an investment company is subject to the risks associated with that investment company’s portfolio securities. Investments in closed-end funds may entail the additional risk that the market value of such investments may be substantially less than their net asset value. To the extent the Fund invests in shares of another investment company, the Fund will indirectly bear a proportionate share of that investment company’s advisory fees and other operating expenses. These fees are in addition to the advisory fees and other operational expenses incurred directly by the Fund. In addition, the Fund could incur a sales charge in connection with purchasing an investment company security or a redemption fee upon the redemption of such security.

Section 12(d)(1)(A) of the 1940 Act provides that a fund may not purchase or otherwise acquire the securities of other investment companies if, as a result of such purchase or acquisition, it would own: (i) more than 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of the acquired investment company; (ii) securities issued by any one investment company having a value in excess of 5% of the fund’s total assets; or (iii) securities issued by all investment companies having an aggregate value in excess of 10% of the fund’s total assets. These limitations are subject to certain statutory and regulatory exemptions including Rule 12d1-4, which permits the Fund to invest in other investment companies beyond the statutory limits, subject to certain conditions. Among other conditions, the Rule prohibits a fund from acquiring control of another investment company (other than an investment company in the same group of investment companies), including by acquiring more than 25% of its voting securities. In addition, the Rule imposes certain voting requirements when a fund’s ownership of another investment company exceeds particular thresholds. If shares of a fund are acquired by another investment company, the “acquired” fund may not purchase or otherwise acquire the securities of an investment company or private fund if immediately after such purchase or acquisition, the securities of investment companies and private funds owned by that acquired fund have an aggregate value in excess of 10% of the value of the total assets of the acquired fund, subject to certain exceptions. These restrictions may limit the Fund’s ability to invest in other investment companies to the extent desired. In addition, other unaffiliated investment companies may impose other investment limitations or redemption restrictions which may also limit the Fund’s flexibility with respect to making investments in those unaffiliated investment companies.

Investment in Money Market Funds

The Fund may invest in money market instruments, including money market funds managed by the Manager or its affiliates and money market funds managed by unaffiliated advisers. Money market funds invest in high-quality, U.S. dollar-denominated short-term debt securities and must follow strict rules as to the credit quality, liquidity, diversification and maturity of their investments. The Fund may lose money on its investment in money market funds. If the Fund invests in money market funds it will indirectly bear its proportionate share of the management fees and other expenses that are charged by the money

 

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market fund in addition to the management fees and other expenses paid by the Fund. If the Fund invests in money market funds that are managed by the Manager or its affiliates, it is possible that a conflict of interest among the Fund and the affiliated funds could affect how the Fund’s Manager and its affiliates fulfill their fiduciary duty to the Fund and the affiliated funds.

London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) Replacement and Other Reference Rates Risk

Many debt securities, derivatives, and other financial instruments, including some of the Fund’s investments, utilize benchmark or reference rates such as LIBOR, Euro Interbank Offer Rate (“EURIBOR”), Sterling Overnight Index Average Rate (“SONIA”), and other similar types of reference rates for variable interest rate calculations. Instruments in which the Fund invests may pay interest at floating rates based on LIBOR or other similar types of reference rates or may be subject to interest caps or floors based on such reference rates. The Fund and issuers of instruments in which the Fund invests may also obtain financing at floating rates based on such reference rates. The elimination of a reference rate or any other changes to or reforms of the determination or supervision of reference rates could have an adverse impact on the market for—or value of—any instruments or payments linked to those reference rates.

In 2017, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) announced its intention to cease compelling banks to provide the quotations needed to sustain LIBOR after 2021. ICE Benchmark Administration, the administrator of LIBOR, ceased publication of most LIBOR settings on a representative basis at the end of 2021 and is expected to cease publication of a majority of U.S. dollar LIBOR settings on a representative basis after June 30, 2023. In addition, global regulators have announced that, with limited exceptions, no new LIBOR-based contracts should be entered into after 2021. Actions by regulators have resulted in the establishment of alternative reference rates to LIBOR in most major currencies. Markets are developing in response to these new rates but questions around liquidity in these rates and how to appropriately adjust these rates to eliminate any economic value transfer at the time of transition remain a significant concern. The effect of any changes to—or discontinuation of—LIBOR on the Fund will vary depending on, among other things, existing fallback provisions in individual contracts and whether, how, and when industry participants develop and widely adopt new reference rates and fallbacks for both legacy and new products and instruments. In March 2022, the U.S. federal government enacted legislation to establish a process for replacing LIBOR in certain existing contracts that do not already provide for the use of a clearly defined or practicable replacement benchmark rate as described in the legislation. Generally speaking, for contracts that do not contain a fallback provision as described in the legislation, a benchmark replacement recommended by the Federal Reserve Board will effectively automatically replace the USD LIBOR benchmark in the contract after June 30, 2023. The recommended benchmark replacement will be based on the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, including certain spread adjustments and benchmark replacement conforming changes. It is difficult to predict the full impact of the transition away from LIBOR on the Fund. The transition process may involve, among other things, increased volatility or illiquidity in markets for instruments that rely on LIBOR. The transition may also result in a reduction in the value of certain LIBOR-based investments held by the Fund or reduce the effectiveness of related transactions such as hedges. Any such effects of the transition away from LIBOR, as well as other unforeseen effects, could result in losses for the Fund. Because the usefulness of LIBOR as a benchmark may deteriorate during the transition period, these effects could occur at any time.

Market Sector Risk

To the extent the Fund may be significantly overweight or underweight in certain companies, industries or market sectors, the Fund’s performance may be more sensitive to developments affecting those companies, industries or sectors.

Money Market Instruments Generally

Money market instruments are short-term IOUs issued by banks or other non-governmental issuers, the U.S. or non-U.S. governments, or state or local governments. Money market instruments generally have maturity dates of 13 months or less, and may pay interest at fixed, floating or adjustable rates, or may be issued at a discount. Money market instruments may include certificates of deposit, bankers’ acceptances, variable rate demand securities (where the interest rate is reset periodically and the holder may demand payment from the issuer or another obligor at any time), preferred shares, fixed-term obligations, commercial paper (short-term unsecured debt), asset-backed commercial paper, other mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities and repurchase agreements. Asset-backed commercial paper refers to a debt security with an original term to maturity of up to 270 days that may be backed by residential and commercial mortgage loans or mortgage-backed securities or other types of receivables. Payments due on asset-backed commercial paper are supported by cash flows from underlying assets, or one or more liquidity or credit support providers, or both.

 

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Preferred Securities

There are two basic types of preferred securities: traditional and hybrid-preferred securities. Traditional preferred securities consist of preferred stock issued by an entity taxable as a corporation. Preferred stocks, which may offer fixed or floating rate dividends, are perpetual instruments and considered equity securities. Preferred stocks are subordinated to debt instruments in a company’s capital structure, in terms of priority to corporate income and claim to corporate assets, and therefore will be subject to greater credit risk than debt instruments. Alternatively, hybrid-preferred securities may be issued by corporations, generally in the form of interest-bearing notes with preferred securities characteristics, or by an affiliated trust or partnership of the corporation, generally in the form of preferred interests in subordinated debentures or similarly structured securities. The hybrid-preferred securities market consists of both fixed and adjustable coupon rate securities that are either perpetual in nature or have stated maturity dates.

Traditional Preferred Securities. Traditional preferred securities pay fixed or floating dividends to investors and have “preference” over common stock in the payment of dividends and the liquidation of a company’s assets. This means that a company must pay dividends on preferred stock before paying any dividends on its common stock. In order to be payable, distributions on such preferred securities must be declared by the issuer’s board of directors. Income payments on preferred securities may be cumulative, causing dividends and distributions to accumulate even if not declared by the board of directors or otherwise made payable. In such a case, all accumulated dividends must be paid before any dividend on the common stock can be paid. However, many traditional preferred stocks are non-cumulative, in which case dividends do not accumulate and need not ever be paid. There is no assurance that dividends or distributions on the traditional preferred securities in which the Fund invests will be declared or otherwise made payable. Preferred securities may also contain provisions under which payments must be stopped (i.e., stoppage is compulsory, not discretionary). The conditions under which this occurs may relate to, for instance, capitalization levels. Hence, if a company incurs significant losses that deplete retained earnings automatic payment stoppage could occur. In some cases the terms of the preferred securities provide that the issuer would be obligated to attempt to issue common shares to raise funds for the purpose of making the preferred payments. However, there is no guarantee that the issuer would be successful in placing common shares.

Preferred stockholders usually have no right to vote for corporate directors or on other matters. Shares of traditional preferred securities have a liquidation preference that generally equals the original purchase price at the date of issuance. The market value of preferred securities may be affected by, among other factors, favorable and unfavorable changes impacting the issuer or industries in which they operate, movements in interest rates and inflation, and the broader economic and credit environments, and by actual and anticipated changes in tax laws, such as changes in corporate and individual income tax rates. Because the claim on an issuer’s earnings represented by traditional preferred securities may become onerous when interest rates fall below the rate payable on such securities, the issuer may redeem the securities. Thus, in declining interest rate environments in particular, the Fund’s holdings of higher rate-paying fixed rate preferred securities may be reduced, and the Fund may be unable to acquire securities of comparable credit quality paying comparable rates with the redemption proceeds.

Hybrid-Preferred Securities. Hybrid-preferred securities are typically junior and fully subordinated liabilities of an issuer or the beneficiary of a guarantee that is junior and fully subordinated to the other liabilities of the guarantor. In addition, hybrid-preferred securities typically permit an issuer to defer the payment of income for eighteen months or more without triggering an event of default. Generally, the maximum deferral period is five years. Because of their subordinated position in the capital structure of an issuer, the ability to defer payments for extended periods of time without default consequences to the issuer, and certain other features (such as restrictions on common dividend payments by the issuer or ultimate guarantor when full cumulative payments on the hybrid preferred securities have not been made), these hybrid-preferred securities are often treated as close substitutes for traditional preferred securities, both by issuers and investors. Hybrid-preferred securities have many of the key characteristics of equity due to their subordinated position in an issuer’s capital structure and because their quality and value are heavily dependent on the profitability of the issuer rather than on any legal claims to specific assets or cash flows. Hybrid-preferred securities include, but are not limited to, trust preferred securities (TRUPS®); enhanced trust preferred securities (Enhanced TRUPS®); trust-originated preferred securities (TOPrS®); monthly-income preferred securities (MIPS®); quarterly-income bond securities (QUIBS®); quarterly-income debt securities (QUIDS®); quarterly-income preferred securities (QUIPSSM); corporate trust securities (CorTS®); public income notes (PINES®); and other hybrid-preferred securities. Hybrid-preferred securities are typically issued with a final maturity date. In certain instances, a final maturity date may be extended and/or the final payment of principal may be deferred at the issuer’s option for a specified time without default. No redemption can typically

 

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take place unless all cumulative payment obligations have been met, although issuers may be able to engage in open-market repurchases without regard to whether all payments have been paid.

Many hybrid-preferred securities are issued by trusts or other special purpose entities established by operating companies and are not a direct obligation of an operating company. At the time the trust or special purpose entity sells such preferred securities to investors, it purchases debt of the operating company (with terms comparable to those of the trust or special purpose entity securities), and the operating company deducts for tax purposes the interest paid on the debt held by the trust or special purpose entity. The trust or special purpose entity is generally required to be treated as transparent for U.S. federal income tax purposes such that the holders of the trust preferred securities are treated as owning beneficial interests in the underlying debt of the operating company. Accordingly, payments on the hybrid-preferred securities are generally treated as interest rather than dividends for U.S. federal income tax purposes and, as such, are not eligible for the dividends-received deduction for corporate taxpayers or the reduced rates of tax that apply to qualified dividend income for non-corporate taxpayers. The trust or special purpose entity in turn is a holder of the operating company’s debt and has priority with respect to the operating company’s earnings and profits over the operating company’s common stockholders, but is typically subordinated to other classes of the operating company’s debt. Typically a preferred security has a credit rating that is lower than that of its corresponding operating company’s senior debt securities.

Within the category of hybrid-preferred securities are senior debt instruments that trade in the broader preferred securities market. These debt instruments, which are sources of long-term capital for the issuers, have structural features similar to other preferred securities such as maturities ranging from 30 years to perpetuity, call features, quarterly payments, exchange listings and the inclusion of accrued interest in the trading price. Preferred securities may be subject to changes in regulations and there can be no assurance that the current regulatory treatment of preferred securities will continue.

Redemption Risk

The Fund may experience periods of heavy redemptions that could cause the Fund to liquidate its assets at inopportune times or at a loss or depressed value, particularly during periods of declining or illiquid markets. Redemption risk is greater to the extent that the Fund has investors with large shareholdings, short investment horizons, or unpredictable cash flow needs. In addition, redemption risk is heightened during periods of overall market turmoil. The redemption by one or more large shareholders of their holdings in the Fund could hurt performance and/or cause the remaining shareholders in the Fund to lose money. The Fund’s redemption risk is increased if one decision maker has control of fund shares owned by separate fund shareholders, including clients or affiliates of the Fund’s Manager. If the Fund is forced to liquidate its assets under unfavorable conditions or at inopportune times, the value of your investment could decline.

Repurchase Agreements

Under the terms of a typical repurchase agreement, the Fund would acquire one or more underlying debt securities from a counterparty (typically a bank or a broker-dealer), subject to the counterparty’s obligation to repurchase, and the Fund to resell, the securities at an agreed-upon time and price. The Fund may enter into repurchase agreements where the underlying collateral consists entirely of cash items and/or securities of the U.S. Government, its agencies, its instrumentalities, or U.S. Government sponsored enterprises. The Fund may also enter into repurchase agreements where the underlying collateral consists of other types of securities, including securities the Fund could not purchase directly. For such repurchase agreements, the underlying securities which serve as collateral may include, but are not limited to, U.S. government securities, municipal securities, corporate debt obligations, asset-backed securities (including collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”)), convertible securities and common and preferred stock and may be of below investment grade quality. The repurchase price is typically greater than the purchase price paid by the Fund, thereby determining the Fund’s yield. A repurchase agreement is similar to, and may be treated as, a secured loan, where the Fund loans cash to the counterparty and the loan is secured by the underlying securities as collateral. All repurchase agreements entered into by the Fund are required to be collateralized so that at all times during the term of a repurchase agreement, the value of the underlying securities is at least equal to the amount of the repurchase price. Also, the Fund or its custodian is required to have control of the collateral, which the portfolio manager believes will give the Fund a valid, perfected security interest in the collateral.

Repurchase agreements could involve certain risks in the event of default or insolvency of the counterparty, including possible delays or restrictions upon the Fund’s ability to dispose of the underlying securities, the risk of a possible decline in the value of the underlying securities during the period in which the Fund seeks to assert its right to them, the risk that there may be

 

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a limited market or no market for disposition of such underlying securities, the risk of incurring expenses associated with asserting those rights and the risk of losing all or part of the income from the agreement. The Fund will seek to mitigate these risks but there is no guarantee that such efforts will be successful. If the Fund enters into a repurchase agreement involving securities the Fund could not purchase directly, and the counterparty defaults, the Fund may become the holder of such securities. Repurchase agreements collateralized by securities other than U.S. government securities may be subject to greater risks and are more likely to have a term to maturity of longer than seven days. Repurchase agreements with a maturity of more than seven days are considered to be illiquid.

Repurchase agreements may be entered into or novated with a financial clearinghouse, which would become the Fund’s counterparty. The Fund would then become subject to the rules of the clearinghouse, which may limit the Fund’s rights and remedies (including recourse to collateral) or delay or restrict the rights and remedies, and expose the Fund to the risks of the clearinghouses’ insolvency.

Pursuant to an exemptive order issued by the SEC, the Fund, along with other affiliated entities managed by the Manager, may transfer uninvested cash balances into one or more joint accounts for the purpose of entering into repurchase agreements secured by cash and U.S. government securities, subject to certain conditions.

Securities Lending

The Fund may lend its portfolio securities, provided that cash or equivalent collateral, equal to at least 100% of the market value of such securities, is continuously maintained by the other party with the Fund. During the pendency of the transaction, the other party will pay the Fund an amount equivalent to any dividends or interest paid on such securities, and the Fund may invest the cash collateral and earn additional income, or it may receive an agreed upon amount of interest income from the other party who has delivered equivalent collateral. These transactions are subject to termination at the option of the Fund or the other party. The Fund may pay administrative and custodial fees in connection with these transactions and may pay a negotiated portion of the interest earned on the cash or equivalent collateral to the other party or placing agent or broker. Although voting rights or rights to consent with respect to the relevant securities generally pass to the other party, the Fund will make arrangements to vote or consent with respect to a material event affecting such securities. The risks in lending portfolio securities include possible delay in recovery of the securities or possible loss of rights in the collateral should the borrower fail financially. The Fund runs the risk that the counterparty to a loan transaction will default on its obligation and that the value of the collateral received may decline before the Fund can dispose of it. If the Fund receives cash as collateral and invests that cash, the Fund is subject to the risk that the collateral will decline in value before the Fund must return it to the counterparty. Subject to the foregoing, loans of fund securities are effectively borrowings by the Fund and have economic characteristics similar to reverse repurchase agreements. The Fund does not currently intend to engage in securities lending, although it may engage in transactions (such as reverse repurchase agreements) which have similar characteristics.

Short Sales

Short sales are transactions in which the Fund sells a security it does not own in anticipation of a decline in the market value of the security, also known as “naked” short sales. To make delivery to the buyer, the Fund must borrow the security. The Fund is then obligated to replace the borrowed security by purchasing the same security at market price at the time of replacement. The price at such time may be more or less than the price at which the security was sold by the Fund. The lender of the security is entitled to retain the proceeds from the short sale and or other collateral until the Fund replaces the borrowed security. Until the security is replaced, the Fund is required to pay to the lender the amount of any dividends or interest paid on shares sold short. To borrow the security, the Fund also may be required to pay a premium, which would increase the cost of the security sold.

Until the Fund replaces a borrowed security, the Fund must segregate assets held by its custodian as collateral to such a level that the amount segregated plus the amount deposited with the broker as collateral will equal the current value of the security sold short. To the extent that the liquid securities segregated by the Fund’s custodian are subject to gain or loss, and the securities sold short are subject to the possibility of gain or loss, leverage is created. The liquid securities utilized by the Fund in this respect will normally be primarily composed of cash or equity portfolio securities that are subject to gains or losses and, accordingly, when the Fund executes short sales leverage will normally be created.

The Fund will realize a gain if the price of a security declines between the date of the short sale and the date on which the Fund purchases a security to replace the borrowed security. On the other hand, the Fund will incur a loss if the price of the

 

30


security increases between those dates. The amount of any gain will be decreased and the amount of any loss increased by any premium or interest that the Fund may be required to pay the lender. There is also a risk that a borrowed security will need to be returned to the lender on short notice. If the request for the return of a security occurs at a time when other short sellers of the security are receiving similar requests, a “short squeeze” can occur, meaning that the Fund might be compelled, at the most disadvantageous time, to replace the borrowed security with a security purchased on the open market, possibly at prices significantly in excess of the proceeds received earlier.

Short selling is a technique that may be considered speculative and involves risks beyond the initial capital necessary to secure each transaction. It should be noted that possible losses from short sales differ from those losses that could arise from a cash investment in a security because losses from a short sale may be limitless, while the losses from a cash investment in a security cannot exceed the total amount of the investment in the security.

Short Sales Against the Box. The Fund may also make short sales “against the box,” meaning that at all times when a short position is open, the Fund owns an equal amount of such securities or owns securities convertible into or exchangeable, without payment of further consideration, for securities of the same issues as, and in an amount equal to, the securities sold short. Short sales “against the box” result in a “constructive sale” and may require the Fund to recognize any gain unless an exception to the constructive sale rule applies.

Small and Mid Cap Companies

Investments in securities of companies with small and medium market capitalizations may offer greater opportunity for appreciation than larger companies, but involve special risks. The securities of those companies may be subject to more abrupt fluctuations in market price and may be more sensitive to economic conditions than larger, more established companies. Small and mid cap company stock prices may, to a degree, fluctuate independently of larger company stock prices, i.e., small and mid cap company stocks may decline in price as the prices of large company stocks rise or vice versa.

Small and mid cap companies may have newer or limited product lines, limited markets or financial resources, or they may be dependent upon a limited or inexperienced management group. In addition, securities of these companies are subject to the risk that, during certain periods, the liquidity of particular issuers or industries will shrink or disappear with little forewarning as a result of adverse economic or market conditions, or adverse investor perceptions, whether or not accurate. Securities of small and mid cap companies may not be widely traded and it may be difficult for the Fund to dispose of such securities, or receive an advantageous price.

Small and mid cap companies may require substantial additional capital to support their operations, to finance expansion or to maintain their competitive position; and may have substantial borrowings or may otherwise have a weak financial condition, and may be susceptible to bankruptcy. Transaction costs for these investments are often higher than those of larger capitalization companies. There is typically less publicly available information about small cap companies.

Some small and mid cap companies also may be relatively new issuers, which carries risks in addition to the risks of other small and mid cap companies. New issuers may be more speculative because such companies are relatively unseasoned. These companies will often be involved in the development or marketing of a new product with no established market, which could lead to significant losses.

Temporary Defensive Investing

The Fund may depart from its principal investment strategies in response to adverse market, economic or political conditions by taking temporary defensive positions, including by investing in any type of investment grade, government, corporate and money market instruments and short-term debt securities or holding cash without regard to any percentage limitations. Although the portfolio manager has the ability to take defensive positions, they may choose not to do so for a variety of reasons, even during volatile market conditions.

Warrants and Rights

Warrants are instruments that give the holder the right to purchase equity securities at a specific price valid for a specified time period. Warrants are typically issued with preferred stock or bonds but can often be traded separately from the securities with which they were initially sold. Warrants may be purchased with values that vary depending on the change in value of one or more specified indexes (“index warrants”). Index warrants are generally issued by banks or other financial

 

31


institutions and give the holder the right, at any time during the term of the warrant, to receive upon exercise of the warrant a cash payment from the issuer based on the value of the underlying index. Rights are similar to warrants but typically have a shorter duration than warrants and are issued directly by an issuer to existing stockholders and provide those holders the right to purchase additional shares of stock at a later date.

Warrants and rights may be considered speculative in that they have no voting rights, pay no dividends, and have no rights with respect to the assets of the issuer. The prices of warrants and rights do not necessarily move with the prices of the underlying securities. If the market price of the underlying security does not exceed the exercise price of the warrant or right plus the cost thereof before the expiration date, the Fund could sustain losses despite advantageous changes in the market price of the underlying security. Warrants and rights not exercised before their expiration date cease to have value.

Low Exercise Price Call Warrants. Low exercise price call warrants, sometimes also referred to as equity-linked participation certificates, are used to gain exposure to stocks in difficult to access local markets. These warrants typically have a strike price set where the value of the warrants will be identical to the price of the underlying stock. The value of these warrants fluctuates in line with the value of the underlying stock price and therefore, the risk and return profile of the warrants is very similar to owning the underlying securities, but the Fund may also be exposed to the risk of the counterparty that issued the warrant. These warrants have no voting rights. Dividends issued to the warrant issuer by the underlying issuer will be distributed to the warrant holders, net of any taxes or commissions imposed by the local jurisdiction in respect of the receipt of such amount. In addition, these warrants are not exchangeable into the ordinary shares of the underlying stock. These warrants are typically sold in private placement transactions and may be classified as derivative instruments.

MANAGEMENT

Trustees and Officers

The business and affairs of the Fund are conducted by management under the supervision and subject to the direction of its Board. The business address of each Trustee (including each Independent Trustee) is c/o Jane Trust, Franklin Templeton, 100 International Drive, 11th Floor, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. The tables below provide information about each of the Trustees and officers of the Trust.

 

32


Independent Trustees#:

 

Name and

Year of Birth        

   Position(s) with Trust   

Term of Office*

and Length of

    Time Served**

  

Principal Occupation(s)

During

the Past Five Years

  

Number of
Funds in the
Legg Mason
Funds
Complex
Overseen

by Trustee***

   Other Board Memberships
Held by Trustee During the
Past Five Years

Paul R. Ades

Born 1940

  

Trustee

  

Since 1983

  

Paul R. Ades, PLLC (law firm) (since 2000)

 

   60    None

Andrew L. Breech

Born 1952

  

Trustee

  

Since 1991

   President, Dealer Operating Control Service, Inc. (automotive retail management) (since 1985)    60    None

Althea L. Duersten

Born 1951

  

Trustee and

Chair of the Board

  

Since 2014 (Chair

of the Board since

2021)

   Retired (since 2011); formerly, Chief Investment Officer, North America, JP Morgan Chase (investment bank) and member of JPMorgan Executive Committee (2007 to 2011)    60    Formerly, Non-Executive Director, Rokos Capital Management LLP (2019 to 2020)

Stephen R. Gross

Born 1947

  

Trustee

  

Since 1986

   Chairman Emeritus (since 2011) and formerly, Chairman, HLB Gross Collins, P.C. (accounting and consulting firm) (1979 to 2011); Executive Director of Business Builders Team, LLC (since 2005); Principal, Gross Consulting Group, LLC (since 2011); CEO, Gross Capital Partners, LLC (since 2014); CEO, Trusted CFO Solutions, LLC (since 2011)    60    None

Susan M. Heilbron

Born 1945

  

Trustee

  

Since 1991

   Retired; formerly, President, Lacey & Heilbron (communications consulting) (1990 to 2002); General Counsel and Executive Vice President, The Trump Organization (1986 to 1990); Senior Vice President, New York State Urban Development Corporation (1984 to 1986); Associate, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP (1980 to 1984 and 1977 to 1979)    60    Formerly, Director, Lincoln Savings Bank, FSB (1991 to 1994); Director, Trump Shuttle, Inc. (air transportation) (1989 to 1990); Director, Alexander’s Inc. (department store) (1987 to 1990)

Howard J. Johnson

Born 1938

  

Trustee

  

From 1981 to 1998 and since 2000

   Retired; formerly, Chief Executive Officer, Genesis Imaging LLC (technology company) (2003 to 2012)    60    None

Arnold L. Lehman

Born 1944

  

Trustee

  

Since 1982

   Senior Advisor, Phillips (auction house) (since 2015); formerly, Fellow Ford Foundation (2015 to 2016); Director of the Brooklyn Museum (1997 to 2015)    60    Trustee of American Federation of Arts (since 2002)

 

33


Robin J.W. Masters

Born 1955

   Trustee    Since 2002    Retired; formerly, Chief Investment Officer of ACE Limited (insurance) (1986 to 2000)    60    Director of HSBC Managed Portfolios Limited and HSBC Specialist Funds Limited (since 2020); formerly, Director of Cheyne Capital International Limited (investment advisory firm) (2005 to 2020); Director/Trustee of Legg Mason Institutional Funds plc, Western Asset Fixed Income Funds plc and Western Asset Debt Securities Fund plc (2007 to 2011)

Jerome H. Miller

Born 1938

   Trustee    Since 1995    Retired; formerly, President, Shearson Lehman Asset Management (1991 to 1993), Vice Chairman, Shearson Lehman Hutton Inc. (1989 to 1992) and Senior Executive Vice President, E.F. Hutton Group Inc. (1986 to 1989)    60    None

Ken Miller

Born 1942

   Trustee    Since 1983    Retired; formerly, President, Young Stuff Apparel Group, Inc. (apparel manufacturer), division of Li & Fung (1963 to 2012)    60    None

G. Peter O’Brien

Born 1945

   Trustee    Since 1999    Retired, Trustee Emeritus of Colgate University (since 2005); Board Member, Hill House, Inc. (residential home care) (since 1999); formerly, Board Member, Bridges School (pre-school) (2006 to 2017); Managing Director, Equity Capital Markets Group of Merrill Lynch & Co. (1971 to 1999)   

Trustee of Legg Mason Funds consisting of 60 portfolios; Director/

Trustee of the Royce Family Funds consisting of 16 portfolios

   Formerly, Director of TICC Capital Corp. (2003 to 2017)

Thomas F. Schlafly

Born 1948

   Trustee    Since 1983    Chairman, The Saint Louis Brewery, LLC (brewery) (since 2012); formerly, President, The Saint Louis Brewery, Inc. (1989 to 2012); Senior Counsel (since 2017) and formerly, Partner (2009 to 2016), Thompson Coburn LLP (law firm)    60    Director, CNB St. Louis Bank (since 2020); formerly, Director, Citizens National Bank of Greater St. Louis (2006 to 2020)

 

34


Interested Trustee and Officer:

 

Name and

Year of Birth

   Position(s) with Trust   

Term of Office*

and Length of

Time Served**

  

Principal Occupation(s)
During

the Past Five Years

  

Number of
Funds in the
Legg Mason
Funds
Complex
Overseen

by Trustee***

   Other Board Memberships
Held by Trustee During the
Past Five Years

Jane Trust, CFA†

Born 1962

  

Trustee, President and

Chief Executive Officer

   Since 2015    Senior Vice President, Fund Board Management, Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Officer and/or Trustee/Director of 131 funds associated with LMPFA or its affiliates (since 2015); President and Chief Executive Officer of LMPFA (since 2015); formerly, Senior Managing Director (2018 to 2020) and Managing Director (2016 to 2018) of Legg Mason & Co., LLC (“Legg Mason & Co.”); Senior Vice President of LMPFA (2015)    131   

None

 

#

Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust within the meaning of Section 2(a)(19) of the 1940 Act.

 

*

Each Trustee serves until his or her respective successor has been duly elected and qualified or until his or her earlier death, resignation, retirement or removal.

 

**

Indicates the earliest year in which the Trustee became a board member for a fund in the Legg Mason Funds complex.

 

***

Information is for the calendar year ended December 31, 2021, except as otherwise noted.

 

Ms. Trust is an “interested person” of the Trust, as defined in the 1940 Act, because of her position with LMPFA and/or certain of its affiliates.

 

35


Additional Officers:

 

Name, Year of

Birth

and Address

   Position(s) with Trust   

Term of Office*

and Length of

Time Served**

  

Principal Occupation(s)

During the Past Five Years

Ted P. Becker

Born 1951

Franklin Templeton

280 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

  

Chief Compliance Officer

  

Since 2007

   Vice President, Global Compliance of Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Chief Compliance Officer of LMPFA (since 2006); Chief Compliance Officer of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates (since 2006); formerly, Director of Global Compliance at Legg Mason (2006 to 2020); Managing Director of Compliance of Legg Mason & Co. (2005 to 2020)

Christopher Berarducci

Born 1974

Franklin Templeton

280 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

  

Treasurer and Principal Financial Officer

  

Since 2014 and 2019

  

Vice President, Fund Administration and Reporting, Franklin Templeton (since 2020), Treasurer (since 2010) and Principal Financial Officer (since 2019) of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates; formerly, Managing Director (2020), Director (2015 to 2020), and Vice President (2011 to 2015) of Legg Mason & Co.

 

Marc A. De Oliveira

Born 1971

Franklin Templeton

100 First Stamford Place

6th Floor

Stamford, CT 06902

  

Secretary and Chief Legal Officer

  

Since 2020

  

Associate General Counsel of Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Assistant Secretary of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates (since 2006); formerly, Managing Director (2016 to 2020) and Associate General Counsel of Legg Mason & Co. (2005 to 2020)

 

Jeanne Kelly

Born 1951

Franklin Templeton

280 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

  

Senior Vice President

  

Since 2007

  

U.S. Fund Board Team Manager, Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Senior Vice President of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates (since 2007); Senior Vice President of LMPFA (since 2006); President and Chief Executive Officer of LM Asset Services, LLC (“LMAS”) and Legg Mason Fund Asset Management, Inc. (“LMFAM”) (formerly registered investment advisers) (since 2015); formerly, Managing Director of Legg Mason & Co. (2005 to 2020), and Senior Vice President of LMFAM (2013 to 2015)

 

Susan Kerr

Born 1949

Franklin Templeton

280 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

  

Chief Anti-Money

Laundering

Compliance

Officer

  

Since 2013

  

Senior Compliance Analyst, Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Chief Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates (since 2013) and Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer (since 2012), Senior Compliance Officer (since 2011) and Assistant Vice President (since 2010) of the Distributor; formerly, Assistant Vice President of Legg Mason & Co. (2010 to 2020)

 

Thomas C. Mandia

Born 1962

Franklin Templeton

100 First Stamford Place

6th Floor

Stamford, CT 06902

  

Senior Vice President

  

Since 2020

  

Senior Associate General Counsel to Franklin Templeton (since 2020); Secretary of LMPFA (since 2006); Assistant Secretary of certain funds associated with Legg Mason & Co. or its affiliates (since 2006); Secretary of LMAS (since 2002) and LMFAM (formerly registered investment advisers) (since 2013); formerly, Managing Director and Deputy General Counsel of Legg Mason & Co. (2005 to 2020)

 

 

*

Each officer serves until his or her respective successor has been duly elected and qualified or until his or her earlier death, resignation, retirement or removal.

 

**

Indicates the earliest year in which the officer took such office.

 

36


Qualifications of Trustees, Board Leadership Structure and Oversight and Standing Committees

The Independent Trustees were selected to join the Board based upon the following as to each Trustee: character and integrity; service as a board member of predecessor funds and/or other funds in the Legg Mason Funds complex; willingness to serve and willingness and ability to commit the time necessary to perform the duties of a Trustee; such person’s skills, experience, judgment, analytical ability, intelligence, and common sense; their current or previous profit and non-profit board membership; such person’s considerable familiarity with the special regulatory requirements governing regulated investment companies and the special responsibilities of investment company trustees; and the Trustee’s status as not being an “interested person” of the Fund, as defined in the 1940 Act. Ms. Trust was selected to join the Board based upon her investment management and risk oversight experience as an executive and portfolio manager and leadership roles with Legg Mason and affiliated entities. The Board also considered her character and integrity, her willingness to serve and willingness and ability to commit the time necessary to perform the duties of a Trustee, her skills, experience, judgment, analytical ability, intelligence, and common sense, her considerable familiarity with the special regulatory requirements governing regulated investment companies and the special responsibilities of investment company trustees, and her status as a representative of Franklin Templeton. Ms. Trust is an interested person of the Fund. Ms. Duersten serves as Chair of the Board and is an Independent Trustee. Independent Trustees constitute more than 75% of the Board.

The Board believes that each Trustee’s experience, qualifications, attributes or skills on an individual basis and in combination with those of the other Trustees lead to the conclusion that the Board possesses the requisite attributes and skills. The Board believes that the Trustees’ ability to review critically, evaluate, question and discuss information provided to them, to interact effectively with the Manager, the Subadviser(s), other service providers, counsel and the independent registered public accounting firm, and to exercise effective business judgment in the performance of their duties support this conclusion. In addition, the following specific experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills apply to each Trustee.

Each Trustee, except for Ms. Trust and Ms. Duersten, has served as a board member of the Fund and/or other funds in the Legg Mason Funds complex for at least eight years. Mr. Ades has substantial experience practicing law and advising clients with respect to various business transactions. Mr. Breech has substantial experience as the chief executive of a private corporation. Ms. Duersten has substantial experience as a global investment and trading manager in capital markets across multiple asset classes, including as the chief investment officer for the North American region of a major investment bank and service on its executive committee. Mr. Gross has a substantial accounting background and experience as an officer, trustee and board member of various organizations. Ms. Heilbron has substantial legal background and experience, business and consulting experience, and experience as a board member of public companies. Mr. Johnson has substantial experience as the chief executive of an operating company and in the financial services industry, including as an actuary and pension consultant. Dr. Lehman has experience as chief executive officer of major museums and other entities involved in the arts, has previously served as a lead independent trustee and board chair for certain funds in the Legg Mason Funds complex and has experience as a founding director of the Legg Mason Funds. Ms. Masters has investment management experience as chief investment officer, as a director of an investment advisory firm and from her service on the boards of other investment companies. Mr. Jerome Miller had substantial experience as an executive in the asset management group of a major broker/dealer. Mr. Ken Miller has substantial experience as a senior executive of an operating company. Mr. O’Brien has experience at senior levels of a large financial services company and has experience from his service on the boards of academic institutions and a residential home care company. Mr. Schlafly has substantial experience practicing law and also serves as the non-executive Chairman of a private corporation and as director of a bank. Ms. Trust has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Trust and other funds in the fund complex since 2015 and has investment management and risk oversight experience as an executive and portfolio manager and in leadership roles with Franklin Templeton (and before that, Legg Mason) and affiliated entities. References to the experience, qualifications, attributes and skills of Trustees are pursuant to requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission, do not constitute holding out of the Board or any Trustee as having any special expertise, and shall not impose any greater responsibility or liability on any such person or on the Board.

The Board has five standing committees: the Audit Committee, the Contract Committee, the Performance Committee, the Governance Committee, and the Compensation and Nominating Committee (which is a sub-committee of the Governance Committee). Each Committee is chaired by an Independent Trustee. The Audit Committee and the Governance Committee are composed of all of the Independent Trustees. The Contract Committee is composed of four Independent Trustees. The Performance Committee is composed of seven Independent Trustees. The Compensation and Nominating Committee is composed of five Independent Trustees. Where deemed appropriate, the Board may constitute ad hoc committees.

 

37


The Chair of the Board and the chairs of the Audit and Performance Committees work with the Chief Executive Officer of the Trust to set the agendas for Board and committee meetings. The Chair of the Board also serves as a key point person for interaction between management and the other Independent Trustees. Through the committees the Independent Trustees consider and address important matters involving the Fund, including those presenting conflicts or potential conflicts of interest for management. The Independent Trustees also regularly meet outside the presence of management and are advised by independent legal counsel. The Board has determined that its committees help ensure that the Fund has effective and independent governance and oversight. The Board also has determined that its leadership structure, in which the Chair of the Board is not affiliated with Franklin Templeton or Legg Mason, is appropriate. The Board also believes that its leadership structure facilitates the orderly and efficient flow of information between the Independent Trustees and management, including the Fund’s Subadviser.

The Audit Committee oversees the scope of the Fund’s audit, the Fund’s accounting and financial reporting policies and practices and its internal controls. The Audit Committee assists the Board in fulfilling its responsibility for oversight of the integrity of the Fund’s accounting, auditing and financial reporting practices, the qualifications and independence of the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm and the Fund’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. The Audit Committee approves, and recommends to the Board for ratification, the selection, appointment, retention or termination of the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm and approves the compensation of the independent registered public accounting firm. The Audit Committee also approves all audit and permissible non-audit services provided to the Fund by the independent registered public accounting firm and all permissible non-audit services provided by the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm to the Manager and any affiliated service providers if the engagement relates directly to the Fund’s operations and financial reporting.

The Contract Committee is charged with assisting the Board in requesting and evaluating such information from the Manager and the Subadviser as may reasonably be necessary to evaluate the terms of the Fund’s investment management agreement, subadvisory arrangements and distribution arrangements.

The Performance Committee is charged with assisting the Board in carrying out its oversight responsibilities over the Fund and fund management with respect to investment management, objectives, strategies, policies and procedures, performance and performance benchmarks, and the applicable risk management process.

The Governance Committee is charged with overseeing Board governance and related Trustee practices, including selecting and nominating persons for election or appointment by the Board as Trustees of the Trust. The Governance Committee has formed the Compensation and Nominating Committee, the function of which is to recommend to the Board the appropriate compensation for serving as a Trustee on the Board. In addition, the Compensation and Nominating Committee is responsible for, among other things, selecting and recommending candidates to fill vacancies on the Board. The Committee may consider nominees recommended by a shareholder. In evaluating potential nominees, including any nominees recommended by shareholders, the Committee takes into consideration various factors, including, among any others it may deem relevant, character and integrity, business and professional experience, and whether the committee believes the person has the ability to apply sound and independent business judgment and would act in the interest of the Fund and its shareholders. Shareholders who wish to recommend a nominee should send recommendations to the Trust’s Secretary that include all information relating to such person that is required to be disclosed in solicitations of proxies for the election of Trustees. A recommendation must be accompanied by a written consent of the individual to stand for election if nominated by the Board and to serve if elected by the shareholders.

Service providers to the Fund, primarily the Fund’s Manager, the Subadviser and, as appropriate, their affiliates, have responsibility for the day-to-day management of the Fund, which includes responsibility for risk management. As an integral part of its responsibility for oversight of the Fund, the Board oversees risk management of the Fund’s investment program and business affairs. Oversight of the risk management process is part of the Board’s general oversight of the Fund and its service providers. The Board has emphasized to the Fund’s Manager and the Subadviser the importance of maintaining vigorous risk management. The Board exercises oversight of the risk management process primarily through the Audit Committee and the Performance Committee, and through oversight by the Board itself.

The Fund is subject to a number of risks, including investment risk, counterparty risk, valuation risk, reputational risk, cybersecurity risk, risk of operational failure or lack of business continuity, and legal, compliance and regulatory risk. Risk management seeks to identify and address risks, i.e., events or circumstances that could have material adverse effects on the

 

38


business, operations, shareholder services, investment performance or reputation of the Fund. The Fund’s Manager and the Subadviser, the affiliates of the Manager and the Subadviser, or various service providers to the Fund employ a variety of processes, procedures and controls to identify various of those possible events or circumstances, to lessen the probability of their occurrence and/or to mitigate the effects of such events or circumstances if they do occur. Different processes, procedures and controls are employed with respect to different types of risks. Various personnel, including the Fund’s and the Manager’s Chief Compliance Officer and the Manager’s chief risk officer, as well as personnel of the Subadviser and other service providers, such as the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm, make periodic reports to the Audit Committee, the Performance Committee or to the Board with respect to various aspects of risk management, as well as events and circumstances that have arisen and responses thereto. The Board recognizes that not all risks that may affect the Fund can be identified, that it may not be practical or cost-effective to eliminate or mitigate certain risks, that it may be necessary to bear certain risks (such as investment-related risks) to achieve the Fund’s goals, and that the processes, procedures and controls employed to address certain risks may be limited in their effectiveness. Moreover, reports received by the Trustees as to risk management matters are typically summaries of the relevant information. As a result of the foregoing and other factors, the Board’s risk management oversight is subject to inherent limitations.

During the fiscal year ended August 31, 2022, the Board met 7 times, the Audit Committee met 4 times, the Governance Committee met 4 times, the Performance Committee met 4 times, the Compensation and Nominating Committee met 1 time, and the Contract Committee met 1 time.

Trustee Ownership of Securities

The following tables show the dollar range of equity securities owned by the Trustees in the Fund and other investment companies in the Legg Mason Funds complex overseen by the Trustees as of December 31, 2021.

 

Name of Trustee

  

Dollar Range of

Equity Securities in the Fund

($)

  

Aggregate Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in All Registered
Investment Companies in Legg
Mason Funds Complex Overseen
by Trustee ($)

           

Independent Trustees:

Paul R. Ades

   50,001 to 100,000    Over 100,000

Andrew L. Breech

   None    Over 100,000

Althea L. Duersten

   None    Over 100,000

Stephen R. Gross

   50,001 to 100,000    Over 100,000

Susan M. Heilbron

   None    Over 100,000

Howard J. Johnson

   10,001 to 50,000    Over 100,000

Arnold L. Lehman

   None    Over 100,000

Robin J.W. Masters

   None    Over 100,000

Jerome H. Miller

   Over 100,000    Over 100,000

Ken Miller

   None    Over 100,000

G. Peter O’Brien

   50,001 to 100,000    Over 100,000

Thomas F. Schlafly

   None    Over 100,000

Interested Trustee:

Jane Trust

   None    Over 100,000

As of December 31, 2021, none of the Independent Trustees or their immediate family members owned beneficially or of record any securities of the Manager, the Subadviser, or the Distributor of the Fund, or of a person (other than a registered investment company) directly or indirectly controlling, controlled by or under common control with the Manager, the Subadviser, or the Distributor of the Fund.

 

39


For serving as a Trustee of the Trust, each Independent Trustee receives an annual retainer plus fees for attending each regularly scheduled meeting and special Board meeting they attend in person or by telephone. Each Independent Trustee is also reimbursed for all out-of-pocket expenses relating to attendance at such meetings. Those Independent Trustees who serve in leadership positions of the Board or Board committees, and members of the Contract Committee, the Performance Committee, and the Compensation and Nominating Committee, receive additional compensation. The Board reviews the level of Trustee compensation periodically and Trustee compensation may change from time to time. Ms. Trust, an “interested person” of the Trust, as defined in the 1940 Act, does not receive compensation from the Fund for her service as Trustee. The Fund pays its pro rata share of the fees and expenses of the Trustees based upon asset size.

Officers of the Trust receive no compensation from the Fund, although they may be reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket travel expenses for attending Board meetings.

Trustee Compensation

Information regarding compensation paid to the Trustees is shown below.

 

Name of Trustee    Aggregate Compensation
from the Fund*($)
  

Total Pension

or

Retirement

Benefits Paid

as Part of Fund
Expenses*

($)

    

Total

Compensation

from Legg Mason

Funds Complex

Paid to

Trustee**

($)

 

Independent Trustees:

     

Paul R. Ades

   30,277      None        349,000  

Andrew L. Breech

   31,486      None        334,000  

Althea L. Duersten

   36,553      None        420,500  

Stephen R. Gross

   30,335      None        347,000  

Susan M. Heilbron

   28,807      None        329,000  

Howard J. Johnson§

   30,277      None        349,000  

Arnold L. Lehman

   28,439      None        272,000  

Robin J.W. Masters

   30,277      None        264,500  

Jerome H. Miller

   30,644      None        353,000  

Ken Miller

   30,644      None        352,000  

G. Peter O’Brien

   28,439      None        504,050  

Thomas F. Schlafly

   30,277      None        349,000  

Interested Trustee:

     

Jane Trust†

   None      None        None  

 

*

Information is for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2022.

**

Information is for the calendar year ended December 31, 2021.

§

The total amount of deferred compensation accrued by the Trust (including earnings or depreciation in value of amounts deferred) through December 31, 2021 for Mr. Howard J. Johnson is $222,488.

Ms. Trust is not compensated by the Trust for her services as a Trustee because of her affiliations with the Manager.

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT AND SERVICE PROVIDER INFORMATION

Manager

The Manager, a limited liability company organized under the laws of the State of Delaware, serves as investment manager to the Fund and provides administrative and certain oversight services to the Fund, pursuant to an investment management agreement (the “Management Agreement”). The Manager has offices at 280 Park Avenue, New York, New York, 10017 and also serves as the investment manager of other Legg Mason Funds. The Manager is an indirect, wholly-owned

 

40


subsidiary of Franklin Resources, a Delaware corporation. Franklin Resources, whose principal executive offices are at One Franklin Parkway, San Mateo, California 94403, is a global investment management organization operating, together with its subsidiaries, as Franklin Templeton.

The Manager has agreed, under the Management Agreement, subject to the supervision of the Board, to provide the Fund with investment research, advice, management and supervision, furnish a continuous investment program for the Fund’s portfolio of securities and other investments consistent with the Fund’s investment objectives, policies and restrictions, and place orders pursuant to its investment determinations. The Manager is permitted to enter into contracts with subadvisers or subadministrators, subject to the Board’s approval. The Manager has entered into subadvisory agreements, as described below.

As compensation for services performed, facilities furnished and expenses assumed by the Manager, the Fund pays the Manager a fee computed daily at an annual rate of the Fund’s average daily net assets as described below. The Manager also performs administrative and management services as reasonably requested by the Fund necessary for the operation of the Fund, such as (i) supervising the overall administration of the Fund, including negotiation of contracts and fees with, and monitoring of performance and billings of, the Fund’s transfer agent, shareholder servicing agents, custodian and other independent contractors or agents; (ii) providing certain compliance, fund accounting, regulatory reporting and tax reporting services; (iii) preparing or participating in the preparation of Board materials, registration statements, proxy statements and reports and other communications to shareholders; (iv) maintaining the Fund’s existence; and (v) maintaining the registration or qualification of the Fund’s shares under federal and state laws.

The Management Agreement will continue in effect for its initial term and thereafter from year to year, provided continuance is specifically approved at least annually (a) by the Board or by a 1940 Act Vote, and (b) in either event, by a majority of the Independent Trustees, with such Independent Trustees casting votes in person at a meeting called for such purpose.

The Management Agreement provides that the Manager may render services to others. The Management Agreement is terminable without penalty by the Board or by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund on not more than 60 days’ nor less than 30 days’ written notice to the Manager, or by the Manager on not less than 90 days’ written notice to the Fund as applicable, and will automatically terminate in the event of its assignment (as defined in the 1940 Act) by the Manager. No Management Agreement is assignable by the Trust except with the consent of the Manager.

The Management Agreement provides that the Manager, its affiliates performing services contemplated by the Management Agreement, and the partners, shareholders, directors, officers and employees of the Manager and such affiliates, will not be liable for any error of judgment or mistake of law, for any loss arising out of any investment, or for any act or omission in the execution of securities transactions for the Fund, but the Manager is not protected against any liability to the Fund to which the Manager would be subject by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence in the performance of its duties or by reason of its reckless disregard of its obligations and duties under the Management Agreement.

For its services under the Fund’s Management Agreement, the Manager receives an investment management fee that is calculated daily and payable monthly at an annual rate according to the following schedule:

 

  Average Daily Net Assets

  

    Investment Management Fee Rate    

(% of Average Daily Net Assets)

  First $1 billion

   0.750

  Next $1 billion

   0.725
  Next $3 billion    0.700

  Next $5 billion

   0.675

  Over $10 billion

   0.650

The table below sets forth the management fees paid by the Fund to the Manager (waived/reimbursed amounts are in parentheses), with respect to the fiscal periods indicated:

 

41


For the Fiscal Period Ended

August 31,

   Gross
    Management    
Fees ($)
   Management Fees
Waived/Expenses
    Reimbursed ($)    
  Net Management
Fees (After
Waivers/Expense
    Reimbursements) ($)    

2022

   40,704,752    (1,247)   40,703,505

2021

   48,962,759    (446)   48,962,313

2020

   47,335,499    (42,048)   47,293,451

Any expense limitation arrangements in place during the Fund’s past three fiscal periods can be found in the Fund’s Prospectus in effect (as amended or supplemented from time to time) for such year.

Subadviser

ClearBridge Investments, LLC serves as the subadviser to the Fund (the “Subadviser”) pursuant to a subadvisory agreement between the Manager and the Subadviser (the “Subadvisory Agreement”). The Subadviser has offices at 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, New York 10018. The Subadviser is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Franklin Resources.

As compensation for its services, the Manager pays to the Subadviser a fee equal to 70% of the management fee paid to the Manager by the Fund, net of any waivers and expense reimbursements.

Western Asset Management Company, LLC, organized under the laws of the State of California, (“Western Asset” and together with the Subadviser, the “Subadviser”) manages the portion of the Fund’s cash and short-term instruments allocated to it pursuant to a separate subadvisory agreement between the Manager and Western Asset (the “Western Asset Agreement” and together with the Subadvisory Agreement, the “Subadvisory Agreement”). Western Asset, established in 1971, has offices at 385 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, California 91101 and 620 Eighth Avenue, New York, New York 10018. Western Asset acts as investment adviser to institutional accounts, such as corporate pension plans, mutual funds and endowment funds. Western Asset is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Franklin Resources. Under the Western Asset Agreement, Western Asset is responsible, subject to the general supervision of the Manager and the Board, for the management of the portion of the Fund’s cash and short term instruments allocated to it. For Western Asset’s services to the Fund, the Manager, not the Fund, pays Western Asset 0.02% of the portion of the Fund’s average daily net assets that are allocated to Western Asset by the Manager, net of expense waivers and reimbursements.

Under the Subadvisory Agreement, subject to the supervision of the Board and the Manager, the Subadviser regularly provides with respect to the portion of the Fund’s assets allocated to it by the Manager, investment research, advice, management and supervision; furnishes a continuous investment program for the allocated assets consistent with the Fund’s investment objectives, policies and restrictions; and places orders pursuant to its investment determinations. The Subadviser may delegate to companies that the Subadviser controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with, certain of the Subadviser’s duties under a Subadvisory Agreement, subject to the Subadviser’s supervision, provided the Subadviser will not be relieved of its duties or obligations under the Subadvisory Agreement as a result of any delegation.

The Subadvisory Agreement will continue in effect for its initial term and thereafter from year to year provided such continuance is specifically approved at least annually (a) by the Board or by a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund (as defined in the 1940 Act), and (b) in either event, by a majority of the Independent Trustees with such Independent Trustees casting votes in person at a meeting called for such purpose. The Board or a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund (as defined in the 1940 Act) may terminate the Subadvisory Agreement without penalty, in each case on not more than 60 days’ nor less than 30 days’ written notice to the Subadviser. The Subadviser may terminate the respective Subadvisory Agreement, on 90 days’ written notice to the Fund and the Manager. The Subadvisory Agreement may be terminated upon the mutual written consent of the Manager and the Subadviser. The Subadvisory Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of assignment (as defined in the 1940 Act) by the applicable Subadviser, and shall not be assignable by the Manager without the consent of the Subadviser.

The Subadvisory Agreement provides that the Subadviser, its affiliates performing services contemplated by the Subadvisory Agreement, and the partners, shareholders, directors, officers and employees of the Subadviser and such affiliates will not be liable for any error of judgment or mistake of law, or for any loss arising out of any investment, or for any act or

 

42


omission in the execution of securities transactions for the Fund, but the Subadviser is not protected against any liability to the Fund or the Manager to which the Subadviser would be subject by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence in the performance of its duties or by reason of its reckless disregard of its obligations and duties under the Subadvisory Agreement.

Expenses

In addition to amounts payable under the Management Agreement and the 12b-1 Plan (as discussed in this SAI), the Fund is responsible for its own expenses, including, among other things: interest; taxes; governmental fees; voluntary assessments and other expenses incurred in connection with membership in investment company organizations; organization costs of the Fund; the cost (including interest, brokerage commissions, transaction fees or charges or acquired fund fees and expenses, if any) in connection with the purchase or sale of the Fund’s securities and other investments and any losses in connection therewith; fees and expenses of custodians, transfer agents, registrars, independent pricing vendors or other agents; legal expenses; loan commitment fees; expenses relating to the issuance and redemption or repurchase of the Fund’s shares and servicing shareholder accounts; expenses of registering and qualifying the Fund’s shares for sale under applicable federal and state law; expenses of preparing, setting in print, printing and distributing prospectuses and statements of additional information and any supplements thereto, reports, proxy statements, notices and dividends to the Fund’s shareholders; costs of stationery; website costs; costs of meetings of the Board or any committee thereof, meetings of shareholders and other meetings of the Fund; Board fees; audit fees; travel expenses of officers, Trustees and employees of the Fund, if any; the Fund’s pro rata portion of premiums on any fidelity bond and other insurance covering the Fund and its officers, Trustees and employees; and litigation expenses and any non-recurring or extraordinary expenses as may arise, including, without limitation, those relating to actions, suits or proceedings to which the Fund is a party and any legal obligation which the Fund may have to indemnify the Fund’s Trustees and officers with respect thereto.

Management may agree to implement an expense cap, waive fees and/or reimburse operating expenses for one or more classes of shares. Any such waived fees and/or reimbursed expenses are described in the Fund’s Prospectus. The expense caps and waived fees and/or reimbursed expenses do not cover extraordinary expenses, such as (a) any expenses or charges related to litigation, derivative actions, demand related to litigation, regulatory or other government investigations and proceedings, “for cause” regulatory inspections and indemnification or advancement of related expenses or costs, to the extent any such expenses are considered extraordinary expenses for the purposes of fee disclosure in Form N-1A as the same may be amended from time to time; (b) transaction costs (such as brokerage commissions and dealer and underwriter spreads) and taxes; (c) other extraordinary expenses as determined for the purposes of fee disclosure in Form N-1A, as the same may be amended from time to time; and (d) any other exclusions enumerated in the Fund’s particular expense cap. Without limiting the foregoing, extraordinary expenses are generally those that are unusual or expected to recur only infrequently, and may include such expenses, by way of illustration, as (i) expenses of the reorganization, restructuring, redomiciling or merger of the Fund or class or the acquisition of all or substantially all of the assets of another fund or class; (ii) expenses of holding, and soliciting proxies for, a meeting of shareholders of the Fund or class (except to the extent relating to routine items such as the election of Trustees or the approval of the independent registered public accounting firm); and (iii) expenses of converting to a new custodian, transfer agent or other service provider, in each case to the extent any such expenses are considered extraordinary expenses for the purposes of fee disclosure in Form N-1A as the same may be amended from time to time. In order to implement an expense limitation, the Manager will, as necessary, waive management fees or reimburse operating expenses. However, the Manager is permitted to recapture amounts waived and/or reimbursed to a class during the same fiscal year in which the Manager earned the fee or incurred the expense if the class’ total annual fund operating expenses have fallen to a level below the class’s expense limitation shown in the Fund’s Prospectus. In no case will the Manager recapture any amount that would result, on any particular business day of the Fund, in the class’ total annual fund operating expenses exceeding such expense limitation or any other lower limit then in effect. These arrangements may be reduced or terminated under certain circumstances.

Portfolio Managers

Other Accounts Managed by the Portfolio Managers

The table below identifies the portfolio managers, the number of accounts (other than the Fund) for which the portfolio managers have day-to-day management responsibilities and the total assets in such accounts, within each of the following categories: registered investment companies, other pooled investment vehicles, and other accounts. For each category, the

 

43


number of accounts and total assets in the accounts where fees are based on performance are also indicated, as applicable. Unless noted otherwise, all information is provided as of August 31, 2022.

 

    Portfolio

    Managers                

   Type of
Account
   Number of
Accounts
Managed
   Total
Assets
Managed
(Billions)
($)
  

Number of

Accounts Managed
for which Advisory
Fee is

Performance-

Based

  

Assets Managed for
which Advisory Fee is

Performance-Based

(Billions) ($)

Evan Bauman

   Registered Investment Companies   

4

  

0.57

   None    None
   Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    2    0.42    None    None
   Other Accounts    46,044    16.07    None    None

Aram E. Green

   Registered Investment Companies   

9

  

11.08

  

1

  

2.86

   Other Pooled Investment Vehicles    3    0.82    None    None
   Other Accounts    47,897    16.79    None    None

Portfolio Managers Securities Ownership

The table below identifies ownership of equity securities of the Fund by the portfolio managers responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund as of August 31, 2022. These holdings are in addition to the shares held for the benefit of the portfolio managers under the incentive compensation program of the Subadviser.

 

    Portfolio Managers

    

Dollar Range of Ownership of Securities ($)

Evan Bauman

     Over 1,000,000

Aram Green

    

100,001-500,000

 

Potential Conflicts of Interest

In this subsection and the next subsection titled “Portfolio Manager Compensation Structure”, “Subadviser” refers to ClearBridge Investments, LLC.

Potential conflicts of interest may arise when the Fund’s portfolio managers also have day-to-day management responsibilities with respect to one or more other funds or other accounts, as is the case for the Fund’s portfolio managers.

 

44


The Subadviser and the Fund have adopted compliance policies and procedures that are designed to address various conflicts of interest that may arise for the Subadviser and the individuals that each employs. For example, the Subadviser seeks to minimize the effects of competing interests for the time and attention of portfolio managers by assigning portfolio managers to manage funds and accounts that share a similar investment style. The Subadviser has also adopted trade allocation procedures that are designed to facilitate the fair allocation of investment opportunities among multiple funds and accounts. There is no guarantee, however, that the policies and procedures adopted by the Subadviser and the Fund will be able to detect and/or prevent every situation in which an actual or potential conflict may appear. These potential conflicts include:

Allocation of Limited Time and Attention. A portfolio manager who is responsible for managing multiple funds and/or accounts may devote unequal time and attention to the management of those funds and/or accounts. The effects of this potential conflict may be more pronounced where funds and/or accounts overseen by a particular portfolio manager have different investment strategies.

Allocation of Investment Opportunities. If a portfolio manager identifies an investment opportunity that may be suitable for multiple funds and/or accounts, the opportunity may be allocated among these several funds or accounts, which may limit a fund’s ability to take full advantage of the investment opportunity. The Subadviser has adopted policies and procedures to ensure that all accounts, including the Fund, are treated equitably.

Pursuit of Differing Strategies. At times, a portfolio manager may determine that an investment opportunity may be appropriate for only some of the funds and/or accounts for which he or she exercises investment responsibility, or may decide that certain of the funds and/or accounts should take differing positions with respect to a particular security. In these cases, the portfolio manager may place separate transactions for one or more funds or accounts which may affect the market price of the security or the execution of the transaction, or both, to the detriment or benefit of one or more other funds and/or accounts.

Selection of Broker/Dealers. In addition to executing trades, some broker/dealers provide brokerage and research services (as those terms are defined in Section 28(e) of the 1934 Act), which may result in the payment of higher brokerage fees than might have otherwise been available. These services may be more beneficial to certain funds or accounts than to others. For this reason, the Subadviser has formed a brokerage committee that reviews, among other things, the allocation of brokerage to broker/dealers, best execution and soft dollar usage.

Variation in Compensation. A conflict of interest may arise where the financial or other benefits available to the portfolio manager differ among the funds and/or accounts that he or she manages. If the structure of the manager’s management fee (and the percentage paid to the Subadviser) differs among funds and/or accounts (such as where certain funds or accounts pay higher management fees or performance-based management fees), the portfolio manager might be motivated to help certain funds and/or accounts over others.

The portfolio manager might be motivated to favor funds and/or accounts in which he or she has an interest or in which the manager and/or its affiliates have interests. Similarly, the desire to maintain assets under management or to enhance the portfolio manager’s performance record or to derive other rewards, financial or otherwise, could influence the portfolio manager in affording preferential treatment to those funds and/or accounts that could most significantly benefit the portfolio manager.

Portfolio Manager Compensation Structure

The Subadviser’s portfolio managers participate in a competitive compensation program that is designed to attract and retain outstanding investment professionals and closely align the interests of its investment professionals with those of its clients and overall firm results. The total compensation program includes a significant incentive component that rewards high performance standards, integrity, and collaboration consistent with the firm’s values. Portfolio manager compensation is reviewed and modified each year as appropriate to reflect changes in the market and to ensure the continued alignment with the goals stated above. The Subadviser’s portfolio managers and other investment professionals receive a combination of base compensation and discretionary compensation, comprising a cash incentive award and deferred incentive plans described below.

Base salary compensation. Base salary is fixed and primarily determined based on market factors and the experience and responsibilities of the investment professional within the firm.

Discretionary compensation. In addition to base compensation managers may receive discretionary compensation.

Discretionary compensation can include:

 

45


   

Cash Incentive Award

   

The Subadviser’s Deferred Incentive Plan (CDIP)—a mandatory program that typically defers 15% of discretionary year-end compensation into the Subadviser’s managed products. For portfolio managers, one-third of this deferral tracks the performance of their primary managed product, one-third tracks the performance of a composite portfolio of the firm’s new product and one-third can be elected to track the performance of one or more of the Subadviser’s managed funds. Consequently, portfolio managers can have two-thirds of their CDIP award tracking the performance of their primary managed products. For centralized research analysts, two-thirds of their deferral is elected to track the performance of one of more of Subadviser’s managed funds, while one-third tracks the performance of the new product composite. The Subadviser then makes a company investment in the proprietary managed funds equal to the deferral amounts by fund. This investment is a company asset held on the balance sheet and paid out to the employees in the shares subject to vesting requirements.

   

Franklin Resources Restricted Stock Deferral—a mandatory program that typically defers 5% of discretionary year-end compensation into Franklin Resources restricted stock. The award is paid out to employees in shares subject to vesting requirements.

Several factors are considered by the Subadviser’s Senior Management when determining discretionary compensation for portfolio managers. These include but are not limited to:

 

   

Investment performance. A portfolio manager’s compensation is linked to the pre-tax investment performance of the fund/accounts managed by the portfolio manager. Investment performance is calculated for 1-, 3-, and 5-year periods measured against the applicable product benchmark (e.g., a securities index and, with respect to a fund, the benchmark set forth in the Fund’s Prospectus) and relative to applicable industry peer groups. The greatest weight is generally placed on 3- and 5-year performance.

   

Appropriate risk positioning that is consistent with the Subadviser’s investment philosophy and the Investment Committee/CIO approach to generation of alpha.

   

Overall firm profitability and performance.

   

Amount and nature of assets managed by the portfolio manager.

   

Contributions for asset retention, gathering and client satisfaction.

   

Contribution to mentoring, coaching and/or supervising.

   

Contribution and communication of investment ideas in the Subadviser’s Investment Committee meetings and on a day to day basis.

   

Market compensation survey research by independent third parties.

Custodian and Transfer Agent

The Fund has entered into an agreement with The Bank of New York Mellon (“BNY Mellon”), 240 Greenwich Street, New York, New York 10286, to serve as custodian of the Fund. BNY Mellon, among other things, maintains a custody account or accounts in the name of the Fund, receives and delivers all assets for the Fund upon purchase and upon sale or maturity, collects and receives all income and other payments and distributions on account of the assets of the Fund and makes disbursements on behalf of the Fund. BNY Mellon neither determines the Fund’s investment policies nor decides which securities the Fund will buy or sell. For its services, BNY Mellon receives a monthly fee based upon the daily average market value of securities held in custody and also receives securities transaction charges, including out-of-pocket expenses. The Fund may also periodically enter into arrangements with other qualified custodians with respect to certain types of securities or other transactions such as repurchase agreements or derivatives transactions. BNY Mellon may also act as the Fund’s securities lending agent and in that case would receive a share of the income generated by such activities.

Franklin Templeton Investor Services, LLC (“Investor Services”) is the Fund’s shareholder servicing agent and acts as the Fund’s transfer agent and dividend-paying agent. Investor Services is located at 3344 Quality Drive, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670-7313. Please send all correspondence to Investor Services at P.O. Box 33030, St. Petersburg, FL 33733-8030.

Investor Services receives a fee for servicing Fund shareholder accounts. The Fund also will reimburse Investor Services for certain out-of-pocket expenses necessarily incurred in servicing the shareholder accounts in accordance with the terms of its servicing contract with the Fund.

 

46


In addition, Investor Services may make payments (or cause payments to be made) to financial intermediaries that provide administrative services to defined benefit plans. Investor Services does not seek reimbursement by the Fund for such payments.

For all classes of shares of the Fund, except for Class IS shares, Investor Services may also pay servicing fees, that will be reimbursed by the Fund, in varying amounts to certain financial institutions (to help offset their costs associated with client account maintenance support, statement preparation and transaction processing) that (i) maintain omnibus accounts with the Fund in the institution’s name on behalf of numerous beneficial owners of Fund shares who are either direct clients of the institution or are participants in an IRS-recognized tax-deferred savings plan (including Employer Sponsored Retirement Plans and Section 529 Plans) for which the institution, or its affiliate, provides participant level recordkeeping services (called “Beneficial Owners”); or (ii) provide support for Fund shareholder accounts by sharing account data with Investor Services through the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC) networking system. In addition to servicing fees received from the Fund, these financial institutions also may charge a fee for their services directly to their clients. Investor Services will also receive a fee from the Fund (other than for Class IS shares) for services provided in support of Beneficial Owners and NSCC networking system accounts.

Fund Counsel

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, located at One Federal Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02110, serves as legal counsel to the Trust and the Fund.

Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 100 East Pratt Street, Suite 2600, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, serves as the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm.

PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE

Portfolio Transactions

Pursuant to the Subadvisory Agreement and subject to the general supervision of the Board and in accordance with the Fund’s investment objectives and strategies, the Subadviser is responsible for the execution of the Fund’s portfolio transactions with respect to assets allocated to the Subadviser. The Subadviser is authorized to place orders pursuant to its investment determinations for the Fund either directly with the issuer or with any broker or dealer, foreign currency dealer, futures commission merchant or others selected by it.

In certain instances, there may be securities that are suitable as an investment for the Fund as well as for one or more of the other clients of the Subadviser. Investment decisions for the Fund and for the Subadviser’s other clients are made with a view to achieving their respective investment objectives. It may develop that a particular security is bought or sold for only one client even though it might be held by, or bought or sold for, other clients. Likewise, a particular security may be bought for one or more clients when one or more clients are selling the same security. Some simultaneous transactions are inevitable when several clients receive investment advice from the same investment adviser, particularly when the same security is suitable for the investment objectives of more than one client. When two or more clients are simultaneously engaged in the purchase or sale of the same security, the securities are allocated among clients in a manner believed to be equitable to each. It is recognized that in some cases this system could adversely affect the price of or the size of the position obtainable in a security for the Fund. When purchases or sales of the same security for the Fund and for other portfolios managed by the Subadviser occur contemporaneously, the purchase or sale orders may be aggregated in order to obtain any price advantages available to large volume purchases or sales.

Transactions on stock exchanges and other agency transactions involve the payment of negotiated brokerage commissions by the Fund. Transactions in foreign securities often involve the payment of brokerage commissions that may be higher than those in the United States. Fixed income securities are generally traded on a net basis (i.e., without a commission) through dealers acting as principal for their own account and not as brokers. This means that a dealer makes a market for securities by offering to buy at one price and selling the security at a slightly higher price. The difference between the prices is known as a “spread.” Other portfolio transactions may be executed through brokers acting as agents and the Fund will pay a spread or commission in connection with such transactions. The cost of securities purchased from underwriters includes an

 

47


underwriting commission, concession or a net price. The Fund may also purchase securities directly from the issuer. The aggregate brokerage commissions paid by the Fund for the three most recent fiscal years or periods, as applicable, are set forth below under “Aggregate Brokerage Commissions Paid.”

Brokerage and Research Services

The general policy of the Subadviser in selecting brokers and dealers is to obtain the best results achievable in the context of a number of factors which are considered both in relation to individual trades and broader trading patterns. The Fund may not always pay the lowest commission or spread available. Rather, in placing orders on behalf of the Fund, the Subadviser also takes into account other factors bearing on the overall quality of execution, such as size of the order, difficulty of execution, the reliability of the broker/dealer, the competitiveness of the price and the commission, the research services received and whether the broker/dealer commits its own capital.

In connection with the selection of such brokers or dealers and the placing of such orders, subject to applicable law, brokers or dealers may be selected who also provide brokerage and research services (as those terms are defined in Section 28(e) of the 1934 Act) to the Fund and/or the other accounts over which the Subadviser or its affiliates exercise investment discretion. The Subadviser is authorized to pay a broker or dealer that provides such brokerage and research services a commission for executing a portfolio transaction for the Fund which is in excess of the amount of commission another broker or dealer would have charged for effecting that transaction if the Subadviser determines in good faith that such amount of commission is reasonable in relation to the value of the brokerage and research services provided by such broker or dealer. Investment research services include information and analysis on particular companies and industries as well as market or economic trends and portfolio strategy, market quotations for portfolio evaluations, analytical software and similar products and services. If a research service also assists the Subadviser in a non-research capacity (such as bookkeeping or other administrative functions), then only the percentage or component that provides assistance to the Subadviser in the investment decision making process may be paid in commission dollars. This determination may be viewed in terms of either that particular transaction or the overall responsibilities that the Subadviser and its affiliates have with respect to accounts over which they exercise investment discretion. The Subadviser may also have arrangements with brokers pursuant to which such brokers provide research services to the Subadviser in exchange for a certain volume of brokerage transactions to be executed by such brokers. While the payment of higher commissions increases the Fund’s costs, the Subadviser does not believe that the receipt of such brokerage and research services significantly reduces its expenses as Subadviser. Arrangements for the receipt of research services from brokers (so-called “soft dollar” arrangements) may create conflicts of interest. Although the Subadviser is authorized to use soft dollar arrangements in order to obtain research services, it is not required to do so, and the Subadviser may not be able or may choose not to use soft dollar arrangements because of regulatory restrictions, operational considerations or for other reasons.

Research services furnished to the Subadviser by brokers that effect securities transactions for the Fund may be used by the Subadviser in servicing other investment companies and accounts which the Subadviser manages. Similarly, research services furnished to the Subadviser by brokers that effect securities transactions for other investment companies and accounts which the Subadviser manages may be used by the Subadviser in servicing the Fund. Not all of these research services are used by the Subadviser in managing any particular account, including the Fund.

Firms that provide research and brokerage services to the Subadviser may also promote the sale of the Fund or other pooled investment vehicles advised by the Subadviser, and the Subadviser and/or its affiliates may separately compensate them for doing so. Such brokerage business is placed on the basis of brokerage and research services provided by the firm and is not based on any sales of the Fund or other pooled investment vehicles advised by the Subadviser.

The Fund contemplates that, consistent with the policy of obtaining the best net results, brokerage transactions may be conducted through “affiliated broker/dealers,” as defined in the 1940 Act. The Fund’s Board has adopted procedures in accordance with Rule 17e-1 under the 1940 Act to ensure that all brokerage commissions paid to such affiliates are reasonable and fair in the context of the market in which such affiliates operate. For the three most recent fiscal periods (as applicable), the Fund did not pay any brokerage commission to its affiliates.

Aggregate Brokerage Commissions Paid

The table below shows the aggregate brokerage commissions paid by the Fund during the periods indicated.

 

48


For the Fiscal Period Ended August 31,

  

Aggregate Brokerage Commissions Paid ($)

2022

   981,586

2021*

   1,160,109

2020

   603,792

 

*

The increase in aggregate brokerage commissions paid between the fiscal periods ended August 31, 2020 and August 31, 2021 was due to increased trading activity.

The table below shows the amount of transactions (if any) for the most recent fiscal period that were directed to firms that provided research services and the commissions paid on such transactions.

 

Total Amount of Brokerage Transactions

Related to Research Services ($)

  

Total Commissions Paid on Transactions

Related to Research Services ($)

2,163,885,247.13

   632,188.87

Securities of Regular Broker/Dealers

As of August 31, 2022, the Fund did not hold securities issued by its regular broker/dealers (as defined in Rule 10b-1 under the 1940 Act).

Portfolio Turnover

For reporting purposes, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate is calculated by dividing the lesser of purchases or sales of portfolio securities for the fiscal year by the monthly average of the value of the portfolio securities owned by the Fund during the fiscal year. In determining such portfolio turnover, all securities whose maturities at the time of acquisition were one year or less are excluded. A 100% portfolio turnover rate would occur, for example, if all of the securities in the Fund’s investment portfolio (other than short-term money market securities) were replaced once during the fiscal year.

In the event that portfolio turnover increases, this increase necessarily results in correspondingly greater transaction costs which must be paid by the Fund. To the extent the portfolio trading results in recognition of net short-term capital gains, shareholders will generally be taxed on distributions of such gains at ordinary tax rates (except shareholders who invest through IRAs and other retirement plans which are not taxed currently on accumulations in their accounts).

Portfolio turnover will not be a limiting factor should the Subadviser deem it advisable to purchase or sell securities.

 

For the Fiscal Period Ended

2022 (%)

       

For the Fiscal Period Ended

2021 (%)

21

      8

 

49


SHARE OWNERSHIP

Principal Shareholders

As of November 30, 2022, to the knowledge of the Trust, the following shareholders owned of record or beneficially 5% or more of the outstanding shares of the classes of the Fund as set forth below:

 

  Class                    

  

  Name and Address

     Percent of Class (%)                

A

  

BNY MELLON INVESTMENT SERVICING

(US) INC

FBO PRIMERICA FINANCIAL SERVICES

760 MOORE RD

KING OF PRUSSIA PA 19406-1212

   55.25

A

  

MORGAN STANLEY SMITH BARNEY LLC

FOR THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF ITS

CUSTOMERS

1 NEW YORK PLAZA FL 12

NEW YORK NY 10004-1901

   19.27

C

  

MORGAN STANLEY SMITH BARNEY LLC

FOR THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF ITS

CUSTOMERS

1 NEW YORK PLAZA FL 12

NEW YORK NY 10004-1901

   23.11

C

  

RAYMOND JAMES

OMNIBUS FOR MUTUAL FUNDS

880 CARILLON PKWY

ST PETERSBURG FL 33716-1100

   19.28

C

  

WELLS FARGO CLEARING SVCS LLC

2801 MARKET STREET

SAINT LOUIS, MO 63103

   15.44

C

  

PERSHING LLC

1 PERSHING PLZ

JERSEY CITY NJ 07399-0001

   6.88

C

  

UBS WM USA FBO

SPEC CDY A/C EXL BEN CUSTOMERS

OF UBSFSI

1000 HARBOR BLVD

WEEHAWKEN, NJ 07086

   6.19

C

  

LPL FINANCIAL

OMNIBUS CUSTOMER ACCOUNT

4707 EXECUTIVE DRIVE

SAN DIEGO CA 92121

   5.68

 

50


  Class                    

  

  Name and Address

     Percent of Class (%)                

FI

  

PERSHING LLC

1 PERSHING PLZ

JERSEY CITY NJ 07399-0001

   24.08

FI

  

NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP

FBO EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF OUR CUST

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS DEPT 4TH FLOOR

499 WASHINGTON BLVD

JERSEY CITY NJ 07310-2010

   18.45

FI

  

AMERICAN UNITED LIFE INS CO

GROUP RETIREMENT ANNUITY

ATTN SEPARATE ACCOUNTS

PO BOX 368

INDIANAPOLIS IN 46206-0368

   18.29

FI

  

MATRIX TRUST COMPANY AS AGENT FOR

NEWPORT TRUST COMPANY

SOUTHERN WOMENS HEALTH PLLC 401 K

PLAN

35 IRON POINT CIRCLE

FOLSOM CA 95630

   6.60

FI

  

HARTFORD LIFE INS CO

SEPARATE ACCOUNT

ATTN: UIT OPERATIONS

PO BOX 2999

HARTFORD CT 06104-2999

   6.43

FI

  

FIIOC

FBO NORTH PENN IMPORTS INC

401 K PLAN

100 MAGELLAN WAY KWIC

COVINGTON KY 41015-1987

   6.27

FI

  

GENWORTH LIFE & ANNUITY INS CO

ATTN VARIABLE ACCOUNTING DEPT

6620 W BROAD ST BLDG 3 5TH FL

RICHMOND VA 23230-1721

   6.12

I

  

MORGAN STANLEY SMITH BARNEY LLC

FOR THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF ITS

CUSTOMERS

1 NEW YORK PLAZA FL 12

NEW YORK NY 10004-1901

   35.78

I

  

WELLS FARGO CLEARING SVCS LLC

2801 MARKET STREET

SAINT LOUIS, MO 63103

   10.31

 

51


  Class                    

  

  Name and Address

     Percent of Class (%)                

I

  

MLPF&S FOR THE SOLE BENEFIT OF ITS

CUSTOMERS

ATTN: FUND ADMINISTRATION

4800 DEER LAKE DRIVE EAST 3RD FLOOR

JACKSONVILLE FL 32246-6484

   8.31

I

  

UBS WM USA FBO

SPEC CDY A/C EXL BEN CUSTOMERS

OF UBSFSI

1000 HARBOR BLVD

WEEHAWKEN, NJ 07086

   7.96

I

  

RAYMOND JAMES

OMNIBUS FOR MUTUAL FUNDS

880 CARILLON PKWY

ST PETERSBURG FL 33716-1100

   7.70

I

  

NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP

FBO EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF OUR CUST

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS DEPT 4TH FLOOR

499 WASHINGTON BLVD

JERSEY CITY NJ 07310-2010

   5.53

IS

  

VOYA RETIREMENT INSURANCE AND

ANNUITY COMPANY

1 ORANGE WAY

WINDSOR CT 06095-4773

   18.30

IS

  

STIFEL NICOLAUS & CO INC

EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF CUSTOMERS

501 N BROADWAY

ST LOUIS MO 63102-2188

   14.43

IS

  

EDWARD D JONES & CO

FOR THE BENEFIT OF CUSTOMERS

12555 MANCHESTER RD

SAINT LOUIS MO 63131-3729

   10.80

IS

  

NATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP

FBO EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF OUR CUST

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS DEPT 4TH FLOOR

499 WASHINGTON BLVD

JERSEY CITY NJ 07310-2010

   8.94

IS

  

CHARLES SCHWAB & CO INC

SPECIAL CUSTODY ACCT FBO

CUSTOMERS

ATTN MUTUAL FUNDS

211 MAIN STREET

SAN FRANCISCO CA 94105-1905

   7.79

 

52


  Class                    

  

  Name and Address

     Percent of Class (%)                

IS

  

STATE STREET BANK AND TRUST TTEE

AND/OR CUSTODIAN

(FBO) ADP ACCESS PRODUCT

1 LINCOLN ST

BOSTON MA 02111-2901

   6.78

IS

  

MLPF&S FOR THE SOLE BENEFIT OF ITS

CUSTOMERS

ATTN: FUND ADMINISTRATION

4800 DEER LAKE DRIVE EAST 3RD FLOOR

JACKSONVILLE FL 32246-6484

   5.80

IS

  

PERSHING LLC

1 PERSHING PLZ

JERSEY CITY NJ 07399-0001

   5.28

R

  

VOYA RETIREMENT INSURANCE AND

ANNUITY COMPANY

1 ORANGE WAY

WINDSOR CT 06095-4773

   22.25

R

  

STATE STREET BANK AND TRUST TTEE

AND/OR CUSTODIAN

(FBO) ADP ACCESS PRODUCT

1 LINCOLN ST

BOSTON MA 02111-2901

   18.22

As of November 30, 2022, to the knowledge of the Trust, the following shareholders owned of record or beneficially 25% or more of the outstanding shares of the Fund as set forth below. Shareholders who beneficially own 25% or more of the outstanding shares of the Fund or who are otherwise deemed to “control” the Fund may be able to determine or significantly influence the outcome of matters submitted to a vote of the Fund’s shareholders.

 

  Name and Address

    

  Percent of Fund (%)                

BNY MELLON INVESTMENT SERVICING

US INC

FBO PRIMERICA FINANCIAL SERVICES

760 MOORE RD

KING OF PRUSSIA PA 194061212

    

        48.37

As of November 30, 2022, the Trustees and officers of the Trust, as a group, owned less than 1% of the outstanding shares of each class of the Fund.

DISTRIBUTOR

Franklin Distributors, LLC, an indirect, wholly-owned broker/dealer subsidiary of Franklin Resources, located at 100 International Drive, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, serves as the sole and exclusive distributor of the Fund pursuant to a written agreement (as amended, the “Distribution Agreement”).

 

53


Under the Distribution Agreement, the Distributor is appointed as principal underwriter and distributor in connection with the offering and sale of shares of the Fund. The Distributor offers the shares on an agency or “best efforts” basis under which the Fund issues only the number of shares actually sold. Shares of the Fund are continuously offered by the Distributor.

The Distribution Agreement is renewable from year to year with respect to the Fund if approved (a) by the Board or by a vote of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities, and (b) by the affirmative vote of a majority of Trustees who are not parties to such agreement or interested persons of any party by votes cast in person at a meeting called for such purpose.

The Distribution Agreement is terminable with respect to the Fund without penalty by the Board or by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund, or by the Distributor, on not less than 60 days’ written notice to the other party (unless the notice period is waived by mutual consent). The Distribution Agreement will automatically and immediately terminate in the event of its assignment.

The Distributor may be deemed to be an underwriter for purposes of the 1933 Act. Dealer reallowances, if any, are described in the Fund’s Prospectus.

The Distributor, the Manager, their affiliates and their personnel have interests in promoting sales of the Legg Mason and Franklin Templeton Funds, including remuneration, fees and profitability relating to services to and sales of the funds. Associated persons of the Manager, the Distributor or their affiliates (including wholesalers registered with the Distributor) may receive additional compensation related to the sale of individual Legg Mason and Franklin Templeton Funds or categories of Legg Mason and Franklin Templeton Funds. The Manager, the Subadviser, and their advisory or other personnel may also benefit from increased amounts of assets under management.

Service Agents also may benefit from the sales of shares of funds sold by the Distributor. For example, in connection with such sales, Service Agents may receive compensation from the Fund (with respect to the Fund as a whole or a particular class of shares) and/or from the Manager, the Distributor, and/or their affiliates, as further described below. The structure of these compensation arrangements, as well as the amounts paid under such arrangements, vary and may change from time to time. In addition, new compensation arrangements may be negotiated at any time. The compensation arrangements described in this section are not mutually exclusive, and a single Service Agent may receive multiple types of compensation.

The Distributor has agreements in place with Service Agents defining how much each firm will be paid for the sale of the Fund from sales charges, if any, paid by Fund shareholders and from 12b-1 Plan fees, if any, paid to the Distributor by the Fund. These Service Agents then pay their employees or associated persons who sell such fund shares from the sales charges and/or fees they receive. The Service Agent, and/or its employees or associated persons may receive a payment when a sale is made and will, in most cases, continue to receive ongoing payments while you are invested in the Fund. In other cases, the Distributor may retain all or a portion of such fees and sales charges.

In addition, the Distributor, the Manager and/or certain of their affiliates may make additional payments (which are often referred to as “revenue sharing” payments) to the Service Agents from their past profits and other available sources, including profits from their relationships with the Fund. Revenue sharing payments are a form of compensation paid to a Service Agent in addition to the sales charges paid by Fund shareholders or 12b-1 Plan fees paid by the Fund. The Manager, the Distributor and/or certain of its affiliates may revise the terms of any existing revenue sharing arrangement and may enter into additional revenue sharing arrangements with other Service Agents.

Revenue sharing arrangements are intended, among other things, to foster the sale of Fund shares and/or to compensate financial services firms for assisting in marketing or promotional activities in connection with the sale of Fund shares. In exchange for revenue sharing payments, the Manager and the Distributor generally expect to receive the opportunity for the Fund to be sold through the Service Agents’ sales forces or to have access to third-party platforms or other marketing programs, including but not limited to mutual fund “supermarket” platforms or other sales programs. To the extent that Service Agents receiving revenue sharing payments sell more shares of the Fund, the Manager and the Distributor and/or their affiliates benefit from the increase in Fund assets as a result of the fees they receive from the Fund. The Distributor, LMPFA or their affiliates consider revenue sharing arrangements based on a variety of factors and services to be provided.

Revenue sharing payments are usually calculated based on a percentage of Fund sales and/or Fund assets attributable to a particular Service Agent. Payments are at times based on other criteria or factors such as, for example, a fee per each transaction. Specific payment formulas are negotiated based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, reputation in

 

54


the industry, ability to attract and retain assets, target markets, customer relationships and scope and quality of services provided. In addition, the Distributor, the Manager and/or certain of their affiliates may pay flat fees on a one-time or irregular basis for the initial set-up of the Fund on a Service Agent’s systems, participation or attendance at a Service Agent’s meetings, or for other reasons. Furthermore, the Distributor, the Manager and/or certain of their affiliates at times pay certain education and training costs of Service Agents (including, in some cases, travel expenses) to train and educate the personnel of the Service Agents. In addition, the Distributor, the Manager and/or certain of their affiliates at times may provide access to technology and other tools and support services that facilitate the marketing and promotion of investment management portfolios sponsored by Legg Mason, Franklin Templeton and/or their affiliates. It is likely that Service Agents that execute portfolio transactions for the Fund will include those firms with which the Manager, the Distributor and/or certain of their affiliates have entered into revenue sharing arrangements.

The Fund generally pays the transfer agent for certain recordkeeping and administrative services. In addition, the Fund may pay Service Agents for certain recordkeeping, administrative, sub-accounting and networking services. These services include maintenance of shareholder accounts by the firms, such as recordkeeping and other activities that otherwise would be performed by the Fund’s transfer agent. Administrative fees may be paid to a firm that undertakes, for example, shareholder communications on behalf of the Fund. Networking services are services undertaken to support the electronic transmission of shareholder purchase and redemption orders through the National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”). These payments are generally based on either (1) a percentage of the average daily net assets of Fund shareholders serviced by a Service Agent or (2) a fixed dollar amount for each account serviced by a Service Agent. The Distributor, the Manager and/or their affiliates may make all or a portion of these payments.

In addition, the Fund reimburses the Distributor for NSCC fees that are invoiced to the Distributor as the party to the agreement with NSCC for the administrative services provided by NSCC to the Fund and its shareholders. These services include transaction processing and settlement through Fund/SERV, electronic networking services to support the transmission of shareholder purchase and redemption orders to and from Service Agents, and related recordkeeping provided by NSCC to the Fund and its shareholders.

If your Fund shares are purchased through a retirement plan, the Distributor, the Manager or certain of their affiliates at times also make similar payments to those described in this section to the plan’s recordkeeper or an affiliate.

Revenue sharing payments, as well as the other types of compensation arrangements described in this section, create an incentive for Service Agents and their employees or associated persons to recommend the Fund over other investments or sell shares of the Fund to customers and in doing so may create conflicts of interest between the firms’ financial interests and the interests of their customers. The total amount of these payments is substantial, may be substantial to any given recipient and may exceed the costs and expenses incurred by the recipient for any Fund-related marketing or shareholder servicing activities.

As of December 31, 2021, the Distributor, the Manager or their affiliates made revenue sharing payments to the Service Agents listed below (or their affiliates or successors). It is possible that each Service Agent listed is not receiving payments with respect to each fund sold by the Distributor. This list of intermediaries will change over time, and any additions, modifications or deletions thereto that have occurred since December 31, 2021 are not reflected.

Acadia Life Limited

ADP Retirement Services

Advisor Group Inc.

Allianz

Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.

Ascensus, Inc.

Aspire Financial Services, LLC

Avantax (FKA HD Vest)

Benefit Plan Administrators, Inc.

 

55


Brighthouse Financial

Charles Schwab & Co.

Citigroup & Citi Private Bank

Commonwealth Financial Network

Deutsche Bank

Edward Jones

Equitable Life Insurance Company

Fidelity Investments

Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Company

Great-West Financial Services Equities, Inc.

The Guardian Insurance & Annuity Company, Inc.

Hantz Financial Services, Inc.

Jefferson National Life Insurance Company

John Hancock Life Insurance Company

JP Morgan Chase

Lombard International LLC

LPL Financial

Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated

MetLife Insurance Company USA

Midland National Insurance Company

Minnesota Life Insurance Company

National Security Life and Annuity Company

Nationwide Financial Services, Inc.

New York Life Insurance and Annuity Corporation

Northwestern Mutual Investment Svcs LLC

Ohio National Financial Services

Pacific Life Insurance Company

Paychex, Inc.

Pershing, LLC

PFS Investments, Inc.

PNC Investments LLC

Princor Financial Services

Prudential Financial

Protective Life Insurance

Raymond James Financial Services, Inc.

 

56


Sammons Financial Group, Inc.

Stifel Financial Corporation

Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (US)

TD Ameritrade

TIAA CREF

UBS Financial Services, Inc.

Voya Financial

Wells Fargo & Co.

The Distributor, the Manager or their affiliates may also pay fees, from their own assets, to Service Agents for providing other distribution-related services as well as recordkeeping, administrative, subaccounting, and networking services (or portions thereof), and other shareholder or administrative services in connection with investments in the Fund. These payments may be considered revenue sharing payments. The Service Agents receiving such payments may not be listed above.

You should assume that your Service Agent receives revenue sharing payments and/or other compensation described in this SAI. Please contact your Service Agent for details about any payments it (and its employees) may receive from the Fund and/or from the Distributor, the Manager and/or their affiliates. You should review your Service Agent’s disclosure and/or talk to your Service Agent to obtain more information on how this compensation may have influenced your Service Agent’s recommendation of the Fund.

Dealer Commissions and Concessions

From time to time, the Distributor or the Manager, at its expense, may provide compensation or promotional incentives (“concessions”) to dealers that sell or arrange for the sale of shares of the Fund or a managed account strategy of which the Fund is part. Such concessions provided by the Distributor or the Manager may include financial assistance to dealers in connection with preapproved conferences or seminars, sales or training programs for invited registered representatives and other employees, payment for travel expenses, including lodging, incurred by registered representatives and other employees for such seminars or training programs, seminars for the public, advertising and sales campaigns regarding one or more funds, and/or other dealer-sponsored events. From time to time, the Distributor or the Manager may make expense reimbursements for special training of a dealer’s registered representatives and other employees in group meetings or to help pay the expenses of sales contests. Other concessions may be offered to the extent not prohibited by applicable laws or any self-regulatory agency, such as the FINRA.

Sales Charges

The following expenses were incurred during the fiscal periods indicated:

Initial Sales Charges

The aggregate dollar amounts of initial sales charges received on Class A shares and the amounts retained by the Distributor were as follows:

Class A Shares

 

For the Fiscal Period Ended

August 31,

   Total
        Commissions ($)        
   Amounts
Retained by
        Distributor ($)        
2022    5,322,618    756,811
2021    6,062,047    982,762
2020    6,146,436    947,861

 

57


Contingent Deferred Sales Charges

The aggregate dollar amounts of contingent deferred sales charges on Class A and Class C shares received and retained by the Distributor were as follows:

Class A Shares

 

For the Fiscal Period Ended August 31,

   Amounts Retained by
                Distributor ($)                
2022    2,063
2021    2,931
2020    5,165

Class C Shares

 

For the Fiscal Period Ended August 31,

   Amounts
Retained by
                Distributor ($)                
2022    (8,184)
2021    7,030
2020    19,766

Services and Distribution Plan

The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, has adopted a 12b-1 Plan in accordance with Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act. Under the 12b-1 Plan, the Fund may pay monthly fees to the Distributor at up to the annual rates set forth below (as a percentage of the average daily net assets of the Fund attributable to the applicable share class).

 

  Class                                                        

               Rate (%)            

Class A

   0.25

Class C

   1.00

Class FI

   0.25

Class R

   0.50

The Fund will provide the Board with periodic reports of amounts expended under the 12b-1 Plan and the purposes for which such expenditures were made. Fees under the 12b-1 Plan may be used to make payments to the Distributor, Service Agents and other parties with respect to the sale of Fund shares for advertising, marketing or other promotional activity, and payments for preparation, printing, and distribution of prospectuses, statements of additional information and reports for recipients other than existing shareholders. The Fund also may make payments to the Distributor, Service Agents and others for providing personal service or the maintenance of shareholder accounts. The amounts paid to each recipient may vary based upon certain factors, including, among other things, the levels of sales of shares and/or shareholder services; provided, however, that the fees paid to a recipient with respect to a particular class that may be used to cover expenses primarily intended to result in the sale of shares of that class, or that may be used to cover expenses primarily intended for personal service and/or maintenance of shareholder accounts, may not exceed the maximum amounts, if any, as may from time to time be permitted for such services under FINRA Conduct Rule 2341 or any successor rule, in each case as amended or interpreted by FINRA.

Since fees paid under the 12b-1 Plan are not tied directly to expenses incurred by the Distributor (or others), the amount of the fees paid by a class of the Fund during any year may be more or less than actual expenses incurred by the Distributor (or others). This type of distribution fee arrangement is characterized by the staff of the SEC as being of the “compensation variety” (in contrast to “reimbursement” arrangements by which a distributor’s payments are directly linked to its expenses). Thus, even if the Distributor’s expenses exceed the fees provided for by the 12b-1 Plan, the Fund will not be obligated to pay more than those

 

58


fees and, if expenses incurred by the Distributor (or others) are less than the fees paid to the Distributor and others, they will realize a profit.

The 12b-1 Plan recognizes that various service providers to the Fund, such as the Manager, may make payments for distribution, marketing or sales-related expenses out of their own resources of any kind, including profits or payments received from the Fund for other purposes, such as management fees. The 12b-1 Plan provides that, to the extent that such payments might be deemed to be indirect financing of any activity primarily intended to result in the sale of shares of the Fund, the payments are deemed to be authorized by the 12b-1 Plan.

Under its terms, the 12b-1 Plan continues in effect for successive annual periods, provided continuance is specifically approved at least annually by vote of the Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees who have no direct or indirect financial interest in the operation of the 12b-1 Plan or in any agreements related to it (“Qualified Trustees”). The 12b-1 Plan may not be amended to increase the amount of the service and distribution fees without shareholder approval, and all amendments of the 12b-1 Plan also must be approved by the Trustees, including the Qualified Trustees, in the manner described above. The 12b-1 Plan may be terminated with respect to a class of the Fund at any time, without penalty, by vote of a majority of the Qualified Trustees or by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of that class (as defined in the 1940 Act).

The following service and distribution fees were incurred by the Fund pursuant to the 12b-1 Plan in effect during the fiscal period ended August 31, 2022:

 

Class        

         Service and Distribution Fees Incurred ($)                Service and Distribution Fees      
Waived/Reimbursed ($)

Class A

   11,958,534    192

Class C

   1,354,078    9

Class FI

   7,678    0

Class R

   112,761    0

For the fiscal period ended August 31, 2022, the Distributor incurred distribution expenses for advertising, printing and mailing prospectuses, support service and overhead expenses and compensation to Service Agents and third parties as expressed in the following table. The Distributor may have made revenue sharing payments in addition to the expenses shown here.

 

Class        

       Third Party Fees ($)        Financial
Consultant
Compensation
  (Amortized) ($)  
     Marketing ($)        Printing ($)        Total Expenses ($)  

Class A

   11,958,534    57,182    1,172,269    0    13,187,985

Class C

   1,354,078    36,415    85,012    0    1,475,505

Class FI

   7,678    0    3,327    0    11,005

Class R

   112,761    0    19,140    0    131,901

PURCHASE OF SHARES

Purchases of Fund shares are discussed under the “Buying shares” and “Exchanging shares” sections of the Fund’s Prospectus; this information is incorporated herein by reference. See the Fund’s Prospectus for a discussion of which share classes of the Fund are available for purchase, who is eligible to purchase shares of each class, and applicable investment minimums.

Investors may purchase shares from a Service Agent. However, Service Agents may not offer all classes of shares. In addition, certain investors, including retirement plans purchasing through certain Service Agents, may purchase shares directly from the Fund. When purchasing shares of the Fund, investors must specify the class of shares being purchased. Payment must be made with the purchase order. Service Agents may charge their customers an annual account maintenance fee in connection

 

59


with a brokerage or other financial account through which an investor purchases or holds shares. Accounts held directly at the transfer agent are not subject to a maintenance fee.

Purchase orders received by the Fund prior to the scheduled close of regular trading on the NYSE on any day the Fund calculates its NAV are priced according to the NAV determined on that day (the “trade date”). Orders received by a Service Agent prior to the scheduled close of regular trading on the NYSE on any day the Fund calculates its NAV are priced according to the NAV determined on that day, provided the order is transmitted by the Service Agent to the Fund’s transfer agent in accordance with their agreed-upon procedures. See “Valuation of Shares” below for additional information about the NYSE’s holiday schedule. NAV is calculated separately for each share class.

Class A Shares. Class A shares are sold to investors at the public offering price, which is the NAV plus an initial sales charge, as described in the Fund’s Prospectus. The sales charge is waived for shareholders purchasing Class A shares through accounts where the Distributor is the broker-dealer of record (“Distributor Accounts”). Shareholders purchasing Class A shares through certain Service Agents or in certain types of accounts may be eligible for a waiver of the initial sales charge. For more information, see the appendix to the Prospectus titled “Appendix: Waivers and Discounts Available from Certain Service Agents.”

The Distributor and Service Agents may receive a portion of the sales charge as described in the Fund’s Prospectus and may be deemed to be underwriters of the Fund as defined in the 1933 Act. Sales charges are calculated based on the aggregate of purchases of Class A shares of the Fund made at one time by any “person,” which includes an individual and his or her spouse and children, or a trustee or other fiduciary of a single trust estate or single fiduciary account. For additional information regarding sales charge reductions, see “Sales Charge Waivers and Reductions for Class A Shares” below.

Class A Shares. Purchases of Class A shares of $1 million or more will be made at NAV without any initial sales charge on purchases but are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge on redemptions made within 18 months of purchase (except for purchases made through Distributor Accounts). The contingent deferred sales charge is waived in the same circumstances in which the contingent deferred sales charge applicable to Class C shares is waived. See “Contingent Deferred Sales Charge Provisions” and “Waivers of Contingent Deferred Sales Charge” below.

Class C Shares. Class C shares are not available for purchase through Distributor Accounts. Class C shares are sold at NAV without an initial sales charge on purchases but are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge payable upon certain redemptions. See “Contingent Deferred Sales Charge Provisions.”

Class C1 Shares. Class C1 shares are not available for purchase by new or existing investors (except for certain retirement plan programs authorized by the Distributor prior to August 1, 2012). Class C1 shares will continue to be available for dividend reinvestment and incoming exchanges. Class C1 shares are sold at NAV without an initial sales charge on purchases but are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge payable upon certain redemptions. See “Contingent Deferred Sales Charge Provisions.”

Class D Shares. Class D shares are offered to a limited group of investors who invest in the Fund through certain financial intermediary and retirement plan programs. Service Agents selling Class D shares may in the future discontinue offering Class D shares to clients of financial intermediaries. A Service Agent or financial intermediary may impose investment minimums. For more information about these programs, contact a Service Agent.

Class FI, Class R, Class I and Class IS Shares. Class FI shares are not available for purchase through Distributor Accounts. Class FI, Class R, Class I and Class IS shares are sold at NAV with no initial sales charge on purchases and no contingent deferred sales charge upon redemption.

Class I shares may be purchased directly from the Fund by the following persons: (i) current employees of the Manager and its affiliates; (ii) former employees of the Manager and its affiliates with existing accounts; (iii) current and former board members of investment companies managed by affiliates of Franklin Resources; (iv) current and former board members of Franklin Resources; and (v) the “immediate families” of such persons. “Immediate families” are such person’s spouse (including the surviving spouse of a deceased board member), parents, grandparents, and children and grandchildren (including step-relationships). For such investors, the minimum initial investment is $1,000 and the minimum for each purchase of additional shares is $50. Current employees may purchase additional Class I shares through a systematic investment plan.

Class IS shares may be purchased only by retirement plans with omnibus accounts held on the books of the Fund, certain rollover IRAs and Institutional Investors, Clients of Eligible Financial Intermediaries and other investors authorized by the

 

60


Distributor. In order to purchase Class IS shares, an investor must hold its shares in an account that is not subject to payment of fees for recordkeeping services, account servicing, networking, or similar services to Service Agents.

Class O Shares. Class O shares are offered only to former Class O shareholders of ClearBridge Equity Fund. You buy Class O shares at NAV with no initial sales charge on purchases and no contingent deferred sales charge upon redemption. Class O shares are not subject to any distribution and/or service fees.

Class 1 Shares. Class 1 shares are closed to all purchases and incoming exchanges. Investors owning Class 1 shares may continue to maintain their then-current Class 1 shares but are no longer permitted to add to their Class 1 share positions, except through reinvestments of dividends.

*   *   *   *   *

Under certain circumstances, an investor who purchases Fund shares pursuant to a fee-based advisory account program of an Eligible Financial Intermediary as authorized by the Distributor may be afforded an opportunity to make a conversion between one or more share classes owned by the investor in the same Fund to Class I shares of that Fund. Such a conversion in these particular circumstances does not cause the investor to realize taxable gain or loss.

For additional information regarding applicable investment minimums and eligibility requirements for purchases of Fund shares, please see the Fund’s Prospectus.

Systematic Investment Plan

Shareholders may make additions to their accounts at any time by purchasing shares through a service known as the Systematic Investment Plan. Under the Systematic Investment Plan, shareholders may arrange for automatic periodic investments of $25 or more in certain share classes by authorizing the Distributor or the transfer agent to charge the shareholder’s account held with a bank or other financial institution, as indicated by the shareholder, to provide for systematic additions to the shareholder’s Fund account. Shareholders have the option of selecting the frequency of the investment as long as the investment equals a minimum of $25 per month. Shareholders may terminate participation in the Systematic Investment Plan at any time without charge or penalty. Additional information is available from the Fund or your Service Agent.

Sales Charge Waivers and Reductions for Class A Shares

Initial Sales Charge Waivers. Purchases of Class A shares may be made at NAV without an initial sales charge in the following circumstances:

 

  i.

sales to (a) current and retired board members, (b) current employees of Franklin Resources and its subsidiaries, (c) the “immediate families” of such persons, as defined above, and (d) a pension, profit-sharing or other benefit plan for the benefit of such persons;

 

  ii.

sales to employees of certain Service Agents having dealer, service or other selling agreements with the Distributor or otherwise having an arrangement with any such Service Agent with respect to sales of Fund shares, and by the immediate families of such persons or by a pension, profit-sharing or other benefit plan for the benefit of such persons (providing the purchase is made for investment purposes and such securities will not be resold except through redemption or repurchase);

 

  iii.

offers of Class A shares to any other investment company to effect the combination of such company with the Fund by merger, acquisition of assets or otherwise;

 

  iv.

purchases by shareholders who have redeemed Class A shares in the Fund (or Class A shares of another fund sold by the Distributor that is offered with a sales charge) and who wish to reinvest their redemption proceeds in the Fund, provided the reinvestment is made within 90 calendar days of the redemption;

 

  v.

purchases by certain separate accounts used to fund unregistered variable annuity contracts;

 

  vi.

purchases by investors participating in “wrap fee” or asset allocation programs or other fee-based arrangements sponsored by broker/dealers and other financial institutions that have entered into agreements with the Distributor;

 

  vii.

purchases by direct retail investment platforms through mutual fund “supermarkets,” where the sponsor links its client’s account (including IRA accounts on such platforms) to a master account in the sponsor’s name;

 

61


  viii.

sales through Service Agents who have entered into an agreement with the Distributor to offer shares to self-directed investment brokerage accounts that may or may not charge a transaction fee to their customers;

 

  ix.

purchases of Class A shares by shareholders investing through Distributor Accounts;

 

  x.

investors investing through certain retirement plans; and

 

  xi.

investors who rollover Fund shares from an employer-sponsored retirement plan into an individual retirement account administered on the same retirement plan platform.

In order to obtain such discounts, the purchaser must provide sufficient information at the time of purchase to permit verification that the purchase qualifies for the elimination of the initial sales charge.

All existing retirement plan shareholders who purchased Class A shares at NAV prior to November 20, 2006, are permitted to purchase additional Class A shares at NAV. Certain existing programs for current and prospective retirement plan investors sponsored by Service Agents approved by the Distributor prior to November 20, 2006 will also remain eligible to purchase Class A shares at NAV.

There are several ways you can combine multiple purchases of Class A shares of funds sold by the Distributor or units of a Section 529 college savings plan managed by Legg Mason or Franklin Templeton (a “Section 529 plan”), to take advantage of the breakpoints in the Class A shares sales charge schedule. In order to take advantage of reductions in sales charges that may be available to you when you purchase Fund shares, you must inform your Service Agent or the Fund if you believe you are eligible for a Letter of Intent or a right of accumulation. Whether you purchased shares of funds and/or units of a Section 529 Plan through one or more Service Agents, directly from the Fund or through a combination of the foregoing, it is your responsibility to inform your Service Agent or the Fund if you own shares of other funds or units of a Section 529 plan that you believe are eligible to be aggregated with your purchases. If you do not do so, you may not receive all sales charge reductions for which you are eligible. Account statements may be necessary in order to verify your eligibility for a reduced sales charge.

Accumulation Privilege. The accumulation privilege allows you to combine the dollar amount of your next purchase of Class A shares of the Fund, as applicable, with the current or cost value, whichever is higher, of shares of other funds sold by the Distributor held in Eligible Accounts (as defined below), for purposes of calculating the initial sales charges.

If you hold fund shares or units of a Section 529 plan in accounts at two or more Service Agents, please contact your Service Agents to determine whether your shares or units may be combined.

Shares of certain money market funds sold by the Distributor may be combined for purposes of the accumulation privilege. Please contact your Service Agent or the Fund for additional information.

Certain trustees and other fiduciaries may be entitled to combine accounts in determining their sales charge.

Letter of Intent. A Letter of Intent allows you to combine the current or cost value, whichever is higher, of Eligible Fund Purchases in Eligible Accounts with the value that you intend to purchase within the next 13-months, which would, if bought all at once, qualify you for a reduced Class A sales charge. In addition, current holdings under the accumulation privilege (as described above) may be included in the Letter of Intent. See the Fund’s Prospectus for the sales charges and breakpoints applicable to Class A shares of the Fund. Sales charges and breakpoints vary among the funds sold by the Distributor.

Purchases of Class A shares or units of a Section 529 plan may be aggregated for purposes of calculating each breakpoint. You may purchase Class A shares of funds sold by the Distributor or units of a Section 529 plan managed by Legg Mason or Franklin Templeton over a 13-month period and pay the same sales charge, if any, as if all shares or units had been purchased at once.

At the time you enter into a Letter of Intent, you select your asset goal amount. Each time you make a Class A purchase under a Letter of Intent, you will be entitled to pay the sales charge that is applicable to the amount of your asset goal amount. For example, if your asset goal amount is $100,000, any Class A investments you make under a Letter of Intent would be subject to the sales charge of the specific fund you are investing in for purchases of $100,000.

When you enter into a Letter of Intent, you agree to purchase in Eligible Accounts over a 13-month period Eligible Fund Purchases in an amount equal to the asset goal amount you have selected. You may also credit towards your asset goal amount

 

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any Eligible Fund Purchases made in Eligible Accounts at any time prior to entering into the Letter of Intent that have not been sold or redeemed, based on the current value or cost value, whichever is higher, of those shares as of the date of calculation. The current value of shares is determined by multiplying the number of shares as of the day prior to your current purchase by their public offering price. The cost value of shares is determined by aggregating the amount of Eligible Fund Purchases in Eligible Accounts (including reinvested dividends and capital gains, but excluding capital appreciation), less any withdrawals, as of the date prior to your current purchase. The cost value of Eligible Fund Purchases in Eligible Accounts, however, may only be aggregated for share purchases that took place within 18 months of the Letter of Intent start date.

Your commitment will be met if at any time during the 13-month period the value, as so determined, of eligible holdings is at least equal to your asset goal amount. All reinvested dividends and distributions on shares acquired under the Letter of Intent will be credited towards your asset goal amount. You may include any Eligible Fund Purchases toward the asset goal amount, including shares of classes other than Class A shares. However, a Letter of Intent will not entitle you to a reduction in the sales charge payable on any shares other than Class A shares, and if any shares, including Class A shares, are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge, you will still be subject to that contingent deferred sales charge with respect to those shares. You must make reference to the Letter of Intent each time you make a purchase under the Letter of Intent.

Eligible Fund Purchases. Eligible Fund Purchases include: (i) any class of shares of any other Legg Mason or Franklin Templeton fund other than shares of such funds offered through separately managed accounts that are managed by Legg Mason or Franklin Templeton; and (ii) units of a Section 529 Plan managed by Legg Mason or Franklin Templeton. Shares of certain money market funds sold by the Distributor may be combined for purposes of the Letter of Intent. Eligible funds may change from time to time, investors should check with their Service Agent to see which funds or Section 529 plans may be eligible.

For purposes of a letter of intent and the accumulation privilege, Legg Mason and Franklin Templeton funds include BrandywineGLOBAL funds, ClearBridge Investments funds, Martin Currie funds, and Western Asset funds. They do not include the funds in the Franklin Templeton Variable Insurance Products Trust, Legg Mason Partners Variable Equity Trust, Legg Mason Partners Variable Income Trust or Legg Mason Partners Money Market Trust (except for shares held in Distributor Accounts). Please contact your Service Agent or the Fund for more information.

Eligible Accounts. Eligible Accounts include shares of Legg Mason or Franklin Templeton funds registered to (or held by a financial intermediary for):

You, individually;

Your “family member” defined as your spouse or domestic partner, as recognized by applicable state law, or your children;

You jointly with one or more family members;

You jointly with one or more persons who are not family members if that other person has not included the value of the jointly-owned shares for purposes of the accumulation privilege for that person’s separate investments in Legg Mason or Franklin Templeton fund shares;

A Coverdell Education Savings account for which you or a family member is the identified responsible person;

A trustee/custodian of an IRA (which includes a Roth IRA and an employer sponsored IRA such as a SIMPLE IRA) or your non-ERISA covered 403(b) plan account, if the shares are registered/recorded under your or a family member’s Social Security number;

A 529 college savings plan over which you or a family member has investment discretion and control;

Any entity over which you or a family member has individual or shared authority, as principal, has investment discretion and control (for example, an UGMA/UTMA account for a child on which you or a family member is the custodian, a trust on which you or a family member is the trustee, a business account (not to include retirement plans) for your solely owned business (or the solely owned business of a family member) on which you or a family member is the authorized signer); or

A trust established by you or a family member as grantor.

 

63


You may need to provide certain records, such as account statements, in order to verify your eligibility for reduced sales charges. Contact your Service Agent to see which accounts may be credited toward your asset goal amount. A Letter of Intent is not available to Distributor Accounts.

Increasing the Amount of the Letter of Intent. You may at any time increase your asset goal amount. You must, however, contact your Service Agent, or if you purchase your shares directly through the transfer agent, contact the transfer agent, prior to making any purchases in an amount in excess of your current asset goal amount. Upon such an increase, you will be credited by way of additional shares at the then-current offering price for the difference between:

 

  i.

the aggregate sales charges actually paid for shares already purchased under the Letter of Intent; and

 

  ii.

the aggregate applicable sales charges for the increased asset goal amount.

However, you must contact your Service Agent before purchasing shares in excess of the asset goal amount as no retroactive adjustments can be made. The 13-month period during which the asset goal amount must be achieved will remain unchanged.

Sales and Exchanges. Shares acquired pursuant to a Letter of Intent, other than Escrowed Shares as defined below, may be redeemed or exchanged at any time, although any shares that are redeemed prior to meeting your asset goal amount will no longer count towards meeting your asset goal amount. However, complete liquidation of purchases made under a Letter of Intent prior to meeting the asset goal amount will result in the cancellation of the Letter of Intent. See “Failure to Meet Asset Goal Amount” below. Exchanges in accordance with the Fund’s Prospectus are permitted, and shares so exchanged will continue to count towards your asset goal amount, as long as the exchange results in an Eligible Fund Purchase.

Cancellation of the Letter of Intent. You may cancel a Letter of Intent by notifying your Service Agent, or if you purchase your shares directly through the transfer agent, by notifying the transfer agent. The Letter of Intent will be automatically cancelled if all shares are sold or redeemed as set forth above. See “Failure to Meet Asset Goal Amount” below.

Escrowed Shares. Shares equal in value to five percent (5%) of your asset goal amount as of the date your Letter of Intent (or the date of any increase in the amount of the Letter of Intent) is accepted will be held in escrow during the term of your Letter of Intent. The Escrowed Shares will be included in the total shares owned as reflected in your account statement and any dividends and capital gains distributions applicable to the Escrowed Shares will be credited to your account and counted towards your asset goal amount or paid in cash upon request. The Escrowed Shares will be released from escrow if all the terms of your Letter of Intent are met.

Failure to Meet Asset Goal Amount. If the total assets under your Letter of Intent within its 13-month term are less than your asset goal amount whether because you made insufficient Eligible Fund Purchases, redeemed all of your holdings or otherwise cancelled the Letter of Intent before reaching your asset goal amount, you will be liable for the difference between: (a) the sales charge actually paid and (b) the sales charge that would have applied if you had not entered into the Letter of Intent. You may, however, be entitled to any breakpoints that would have been available to you under the accumulation privilege. An appropriate number of shares in your account will be redeemed to realize the amount due. For these purposes, by entering into a Letter of Intent, you irrevocably appoint your Service Agent, or if you purchase your shares directly through the transfer agent, the transfer agent, as your attorney-in-fact for the purposes of holding the Escrowed Shares and surrendering shares in your account for redemption. If there are insufficient assets in your account, you will be liable for the difference. Any Escrowed Shares remaining after such redemption will be released to your account.

Contingent Deferred Sales Charge Provisions

Class A Shares.

 

   

Class A shares that were purchased without an initial sales charge but are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge. A contingent deferred sales charge may be imposed on certain redemptions of these shares. Class A shares that are contingent deferred sales charge shares are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge if redeemed within 18 months of purchase.

 

64


   

Class A shares that are not subject to a contingent deferred sales charge. If Class A shares of the Fund are exchanged for shares of another fund sold by the Distributor that are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge, you may pay a contingent deferred sales charge if the shares acquired by exchange are redeemed within 18 months of purchase.

Class C Shares.

 

   

Class C shares that are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge. A contingent deferred sales charge will be imposed if shares are redeemed within 12 months of purchase.

 

   

Class C shares that are not subject to a contingent deferred sales charge. If Class C shares of the Fund are exchanged for shares of another fund sold by the Distributor that are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge, you may pay a contingent deferred sales charge if the shares acquired by exchange are redeemed within 12 months from the date of such exchange.

Class C1 Shares.

 

   

Class C1 shares that are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge. A contingent deferred sales charge will be imposed if shares are redeemed within 12 months of purchase. If Class C1 shares of the Fund are exchanged for Class C1 shares (or, if not available, Class C shares) of another fund sold by the Distributor, any contingent deferred sales charge that applies to the Class C1 shares of the other fund will apply to the Class C1 shares (or Class C shares, as applicable) acquired in exchange for the Class C1 shares of the Fund, and that contingent deferred sales charge will be measured from the date the shares exchanged were initially acquired.

 

   

Class C1 shares that are not subject to a contingent deferred sales charge. Class C1 shares of the Fund are not subject to a contingent deferred sales charge, but if Class C1 shares of the Fund are exchanged for Class C1 shares (or, if not available, Class C shares) of another fund sold by the Distributor that are subject to a contingent deferred sales charge, any contingent deferred sales charge that applies to the Class C1 shares of the other fund will apply to the Class C1 shares (or Class C shares, as applicable) acquired in exchange for the Class C1 shares of the Fund, and that contingent deferred sales charge will be measured from the date of such exchange.

Any applicable contingent deferred sales charge will be assessed on the NAV at the time of purchase or redemption, whichever is less.

In determining the applicability of any contingent deferred sales charge, it will be assumed that a redemption is made first of shares representing capital appreciation, next of shares representing the reinvestment of dividends and capital gain distributions, next of shares that are not subject to the contingent deferred sales charge and finally of other shares held by the shareholder for the longest period of time. Unless otherwise noted above, the length of time that contingent deferred sales charge shares acquired through an exchange have been held will be calculated from the date the shares exchanged were initially acquired in one of the other funds sold by the Distributor. For federal income tax purposes, the amount of the contingent deferred sales charge will reduce the gain or increase the loss, as the case may be, on the amount realized on redemption. The Distributor receives contingent deferred sales charges in partial consideration for its expenses in selling shares.

Waivers of Contingent Deferred Sales Charge

The contingent deferred sales charge will be waived on:

 

  i.

exchanges (see “Exchange of Shares”);

  ii.

redemptions through a systematic withdrawal plan, up to 1% monthly, 3% quarterly, 6% semiannually or 12% annually of your account’s net asset value depending on the frequency of your plan (see “Systematic Withdrawal Plan”);

  iii.

redemptions of shares within 12 months following the death or disability (as defined by the Code) of the shareholder;

  iv.

mandatory post-retirement distributions from retirement plans or IRAs commencing on or after attainment of a specific age required by law (except that shareholders of certain retirement plans or IRAs established prior to May 23, 2005 will be eligible to obtain a waiver of the contingent deferred sales charge on all funds held in those accounts at age 59 1/2 and may be required to demonstrate such eligibility at the time of redemption);

  v.

involuntary redemptions;

  vi.

redemptions of shares to effect a combination of the Fund with any investment company by merger, acquisition of assets or otherwise;

 

65


  vii.

effective May 1, 2020, on redemptions with respect to investors where the Distributor did not pay the Service Agent a commission;

  viii.

tax-free returns of an excess contribution to any retirement plan;

  ix.

certain redemptions of shares of the Fund in connection with lump-sum or other distributions made by eligible retirement plans or redemption of shares by participants in certain “wrap fee” or asset allocation programs sponsored by broker/dealers and other financial institutions that have entered into agreements with the Distributor or the Manager; and

  x.

Class A shares held through Distributor Accounts.

The contingent deferred sales charge is also waived on Class C and Class C1 shares purchased by retirement plans with omnibus accounts held on the books of the Fund. Different Service Agents may offer different contingent deferred sales charge waivers. For more information, see the appendix to the Prospectus titled “Appendix: Waivers and Discounts Available from Certain Service Agents.”

A shareholder who has redeemed shares from another fund sold by the Distributor may, under certain circumstances, reinvest all or part of the redemption proceeds within 90 days in another fund sold by the Distributor and receive pro rata credit for any contingent deferred sales charge imposed on the prior redemption.

To have a contingent deferred sales charge waived, you or your Service Agent must let the Fund know at the time you redeem shares that you qualify for such a waiver. Contingent deferred sales charge waivers will be granted subject to confirmation by the Distributor or the transfer agent of the shareholder’s status or holdings, as the case may be.

Grandfathered Retirement Program with Exchange Features

Certain retirement plan programs with exchange features in effect prior to November 20, 2006 (collectively, the “Grandfathered Retirement Program”) that are authorized by the Distributor to offer eligible retirement plan investors the opportunity to exchange all of their Class C shares or Class C1 shares, if applicable, for Class A shares of an applicable Legg Mason fund, are permitted to maintain such share class exchange features for current and prospective retirement plan investors.

Under the Grandfathered Retirement Program, Class C shares and Class C1 shares of the Fund may be purchased by plans investing less than $3,000,000. Class C shares and Class C1 shares are eligible for exchange into Class A shares not later than eight years after the plan joins the program. They are eligible for exchange in the following circumstances: For participating plans established with the Fund or another fund in the Legg Mason family of funds (including funds for which LMPFA or any predecessor serves or has served as investment manager or administrator) prior to June 2, 2003, if such plan’s total Class C and Class C1 holdings in all non-money market Legg Mason funds equal at least $1,000,000 at the end of the fifth year after the date the participating plan enrolled in the Grandfathered Retirement Program, the participating plan will be permitted to exchange all of its Class C shares and Class C1 shares for Class A shares of the Fund. For participating plans established with the Fund or another fund in the Legg Mason family of funds (including funds for which LMPFA or any predecessor serves or has served as investment manager or administrator) on or after June 2, 2003, if such plan’s total Class C and Class C1 holdings in all non-money market Legg Mason funds equal at least $3,000,000 at the end of the fifth year after the date the participating plan enrolled in the Grandfathered Retirement Program, the participating plan will be permitted to exchange all of its Class C shares and Class C1 shares for Class A shares of the Fund.

Unless the exchange offer has been rejected in writing, the exchange will automatically occur within approximately 30 days after the fifth anniversary date. If the participating plan does not qualify for the five-year exchange to Class A shares, a review of the participating plan’s holdings will be performed each quarter until either the participating plan qualifies or the end of the eighth year.

Any participating plan that has not previously qualified for an exchange into Class A shares will be offered the opportunity to exchange all of its Class C shares and Class C1 shares for Class A shares of the same fund regardless of asset size at the end of the eighth year after the date the participating plan enrolled in the Grandfathered Retirement Program. Unless the exchange has been rejected in writing, the exchange will automatically occur on or about the eighth anniversary date. Once an exchange has occurred, a participating plan will not be eligible to acquire additional Class C shares and Class C1 shares but instead may acquire Class A shares of the same fund. Any Class C shares and Class C1 shares not converted will continue to be subject to the distribution fee.

 

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For further information regarding the Grandfathered Retirement Program, contact your Service Agent or the transfer agent. Participating plans that enrolled in the Grandfathered Retirement Program prior to June 2, 2003 should contact the transfer agent for information regarding Class C shares and Class C1 shares exchange privileges applicable to their plan.

Determination of Public Offering Price

The Fund offers its shares to the public on a continuous basis. The public offering price for each class of shares of the Fund is equal to the net asset value per share at the time of purchase, plus for Class A shares, an initial sales charge based on the aggregate amount of the investment.

Set forth below is an example of the method of computing the offering price of the Class A shares of the Fund based on the net asset value of a share of the Fund as of August 31, 2022:

Class A

 

Net Asset Value Per Share ($)

   115.82

Maximum Initial Sales Charge

Percentage (%)

   5.50

Offering Price ($)

   122.56

REDEMPTION OF SHARES

Redemptions of Fund shares are discussed under the “Exchanging shares” and “Redeeming shares” sections of the Fund’s Prospectus; this information is incorporated herein by reference.

The right of redemption may be suspended or the date of payment postponed:

 

  i.

for any period during which the NYSE is closed (other than for customary weekend and holiday closings);

 

  ii.

when trading in the markets the Fund normally utilizes is restricted, or an emergency exists, as determined by the SEC, so that disposal of the Fund’s investments or determination of NAV is not reasonably practicable; or

 

  iii.

for such other periods as the SEC by order may permit for protection of the Fund’s shareholders.

In the case of any such suspension, you may either withdraw your request for redemption or receive payment based upon the NAV next determined after the suspension is lifted.

The Fund’s transfer agent, acting on behalf of the Fund, may place a temporary hold for up to 25 business days on the disbursement of redemption proceeds from an account held directly with the Fund if the transfer agent, in consultation with the Fund, reasonably believes that financial exploitation of a Specified Adult (as defined below) has occurred, is occurring, has been attempted, or will be attempted. In order to delay payment of redemption proceeds under these circumstances, the Fund and the transfer agent must adopt certain policies and procedures and otherwise comply with the terms and conditions of no-action relief provided by the SEC staff. Financial exploitation means: (i) the wrongful or unauthorized taking, withholding, appropriation, or use of a Specified Adult’s funds or securities; or (ii) any act or omission by a person, including through the use of a power of attorney, guardianship, or any other authority regarding a Specified Adult, to (a) obtain control, through deception, intimidation or undue influence, over the Specified Adult’s money, assets or property, or (b) convert the Specified Adult’s money, assets or property. The transfer agent and/or the Fund may not be aware of factors suggesting financial exploitation of a Specified Adult and may not be able to identify Specified Adults in all circumstances. Furthermore, the transfer agent is not required to delay the disbursement of redemption proceeds and does not assume any obligation to do so. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “Specified Adult” refers to an individual who is a natural person (i) age 65 and older, or (ii) age 18 and older and whom the Fund’s transfer agent reasonably believes has a mental or physical impairment that renders the individual unable to protect his or her own interests.

Unless otherwise instructed, redemption proceeds will be mailed to an investor’s address of record. The transfer agent may require additional supporting documents for redemptions made by corporations, executors, administrators, trustees or

 

67


guardians. A redemption request will not be deemed properly received until the transfer agent receives all required documents in proper form.

If a shareholder holds shares in more than one class, any request for redemption must specify the class being redeemed. In the event of a failure to specify which class, or if the investor owns fewer shares of the class than specified, the redemption request will be delayed until the transfer agent receives further instructions. Redemption proceeds for shares purchased by check, other than a certified or official bank check, will be remitted upon clearance of the check, which may take up to ten days. Each Service Agent is responsible for transmitting promptly orders for its customers.

The Service Agent may charge you a fee for executing your order. The amount and applicability of such a fee is determined and should be disclosed to its customers by each Service Agent.

The Fund reserves the right to modify or terminate telephonic, electronic or other redemption services described in the Prospectus and this SAI at any time.

Systematic Withdrawal Plan

The Systematic Withdrawal Plan permits you to have a specified dollar amount automatically withdrawn from your account on a regular basis (i.e., on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis). The Systematic Withdrawal Plan is available to those shareholders who own shares directly with the Fund. You should contact your Service Agent to determine if it offers a similar service.

Class A, Class C, Class C1 and Class D Shareholders. Class A, Class C, Class C1 and Class D shareholders having an account with a balance of $5,000 or more may elect to make withdrawals of a minimum of $50 per transaction per month. For retirement plans subject to mandatory distribution requirements, the minimum withdrawal amounts will not apply. There are two ways to receive payment of proceeds of redemptions made through the Systematic Withdrawal Plan: (1) Check mailed by the Fund’s transfer agent—Fund shares will be redeemed on the day of the month indicated on your account application, (or if no day is indicated, on the 20th day of the month) or the next business day and a check for the proceeds will be mailed within three business days. Available processing dates currently are the 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th and 25th days of the month; or (2) ACH to checking or savings account—redemptions of Fund shares may occur on any business day of the month and the checking or savings account will be credited with the proceeds in approximately two business days. You may change the amount to be paid to you or terminate the Systematic Withdrawal Plan at any time, without charge or penalty, by contacting the Fund or your Service Agent. The Fund, its transfer agent, and the Distributor also reserve the right to modify or terminate the Systematic Withdrawal Plan at any time. See “Waivers of Contingent Deferred Sales Charge,” above, for information about application of the contingent deferred sales charge to withdrawals under the Systematic Withdrawal Plan.

Class FI, Class I and Class IS Shareholders. Certain shareholders of the Fund’s Class FI, Class I and Class IS shares with an initial NAV of $1,000,000 or more, or certain other shareholders authorized by the Distributor, may be eligible to participate in the Systematic Withdrawal Plan. Receipt of payment of proceeds of redemptions made through the Systematic Withdrawal Plan will be wired through ACH to your checking or savings account—redemptions of Fund shares may occur on any business day of the month and the checking or savings account will be credited with the proceeds in approximately two business days. Requests to change or discontinue the Systematic Withdrawal Plan may be made at the Fund’s website, www.franklintempleton.com/mutualfunds, by calling the Fund at 877-6LM-FUND/656-3863, or by writing to the Fund or your Service Agent. You may change the amount to be paid to you or terminate the Systematic Withdrawal Plan at any time, without charge or penalty, by notifying the Fund or your Service Agent. The Fund, its transfer agent, and the Distributor also reserve the right to modify or terminate the Systematic Withdrawal Plan at any time.

In General. The amounts paid to you each redemption period are obtained by redeeming sufficient shares from your account to provide the withdrawal amount that you have specified.

Redemptions will be made at the NAV per share, determined as of the scheduled close of regular trading on the NYSE (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) on the day corresponding to the redemption option designated by the investor, less any applicable contingent deferred sales charge. If the NYSE is not open for business on that day, the shares will be redeemed at the per share NAV determined as of the scheduled close of regular trading on the NYSE on the next day the NYSE is open, less any applicable contingent deferred sales charge. See “Valuation of Shares” below for additional information about the NYSE’s holiday schedule.

 

68


Withdrawal payments are treated as a sale of shares rather than as a dividend or other distribution. A payment is taxable to the extent that the total amount of the payment exceeds the tax basis in the shares deemed sold. Other taxes or tax-related consequences may apply, and you should consult your tax professional before establishing a Systematic Withdrawal Plan. If the periodic withdrawals exceed reinvested dividends and other distributions, the amount of your original investment may be correspondingly reduced.

Ordinarily, you should not purchase additional shares of a fund in which you have an account if you maintain a Systematic Withdrawal Plan because there are tax disadvantages associated with such purchases and withdrawals.

Redemptions In Kind

The Fund reserves the right, under certain conditions, to honor any request for a redemption by making payment in whole or in part by delivering securities valued in accordance with the procedures described under “Share price” in the Fund’s Prospectus. Because redemption in kind may be used at times of unusual illiquidity in the markets, these valuation methods may include fair value estimations. If payment is made in securities, a shareholder should expect to incur brokerage expenses in converting those securities into cash, and the market price of those securities will be subject to fluctuation until they are sold. The securities delivered may not be representative of the entire Fund portfolio, may represent only one issuer or a limited number of issuers and may be securities that the Fund would otherwise sell. The Fund will not use securities to pay redemptions by the Distributor or other affiliated persons of the Fund, except as permitted by law, SEC rules or orders, or interpretive guidance from the SEC staff or other proper authorities.

Shares Purchased and Redeemed Through Another Service Agent

The Fund has authorized certain Service Agents to receive on its behalf purchase and redemption orders. Such Service Agents are authorized to designate plan administrator intermediaries to receive purchase and redemption orders on the Fund’s behalf. The Fund will be deemed to have received a purchase or redemption order when an authorized Service Agent or, if applicable, a Service Agent’s authorized designee, receives the order. Orders will be priced at the Fund’s NAV next computed after they are received by an authorized Service Agent or the Service Agent’s authorized designee and accepted by the Fund.

Transferring Legg Mason Fund Shares to Another Service Agent

You may transfer Fund shares only to a Service Agent that has entered into an agreement with the Distributor or one of its affiliates with respect to the Fund. Some Service Agents may have agreements with the Distributor or one of its affiliates with respect to some Legg Mason Funds and not others. Depending on the Service Agent to which you transfer the shares, certain shareholder services may not be available for the transferred shares. After the transfer, you may purchase additional Fund shares. All future trading of Fund shares, including exchanges, is subject to the rules of the Service Agent and its continued agreement with the Distributor that permits such trading.

You should contact your Service Agent or the appropriate fund for further information on transferring Fund shares.

EXCHANGE OF SHARES

Exchanges of Fund shares are discussed under the “Buying shares,” “Exchanging shares,” and “Redeeming shares” sections of the Fund’s Prospectus; this information is incorporated herein by reference. The exchange privilege enables shareholders to acquire shares of the same class in another fund sold by the Distributor. If the fund into which you wish to exchange your shares does not offer the class of shares in which you are currently invested, you may be able to exchange for a different share class (see the Fund’s Prospectus for more information). This privilege is available to shareholders residing in any state in which the Fund shares being acquired may legally be sold. Prior to any exchange, the shareholder should obtain and review a copy of the current prospectus of each fund into which an exchange is being considered. The Prospectus describes the requirements for exchanging shares of the Fund and may be obtained as described on the cover page of this SAI.

Upon receipt of proper instructions and all necessary supporting documents, shares submitted for exchange are redeemed at the then-current NAV, and the proceeds, net of any applicable sales charge, are immediately invested in shares of the fund being acquired at that fund’s then current NAV. The Distributor reserves the right to reject any exchange request. The exchange privilege may be modified or terminated at any time after written notice to shareholders.

 

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Class A, Class FI, Class R, Class I and Class IS Exchanges. Class A, Class FI, Class R, Class I and Class IS shareholders of the Fund who wish to exchange all or a portion of their shares for shares of the respective class in another fund may do so without imposition of any initial sales charge (if shares being exchanged were subject to an initial sales charge) but subject to a contingent deferred sales charge, if applicable. An exchange of shares that were not subject to any sales charge will be subject to any applicable initial sales charge or contingent deferred sales charge upon exchange.

Class C Exchanges. Class C shares of the Fund may be exchanged for other Class C shares without imposition of any charge but subject to a contingent deferred sales charge, if applicable. Upon an exchange, the new Class C shares will be deemed to have been purchased on the same date as the Class C shares of the Fund that have been exchanged.

Class C1 Exchanges. Investors that hold Class C1 shares may exchange those shares for Class C1 shares of other funds sold by the Distributor, or if a fund does not offer Class C1, for Class C shares, in each case without imposition of any charge but subject to a contingent deferred sales charge, if applicable. However, once an investor exchanges Class C1 shares for Class C shares, the investor would not be permitted to exchange from Class C shares back to Class C1 shares.

Class D Exchanges. Class D shares of the Fund may not be exchanged.

Class O Exchanges. Class O shares of the Fund may not be exchanged.

Class 1 Exchanges. Class 1 shareholders who wish to exchange all or a portion of their shares may exchange Class 1 shares for Class A shares of certain funds available for exchange. Ask your Service Agent about the funds available for exchange.

Certain retirement plan programs with exchange features in effect prior to November 20, 2006, as approved by the Distributor, will remain eligible for exchange from Class C shares or Class C1 shares to Class A shares in accordance with the program terms. See “Grandfathered Retirement Program with Exchange Features” for additional information.

Additional Information Regarding the Exchange Privilege

The Fund is not designed to provide investors with a means of speculation on short-term market movements. A pattern of frequent exchanges by investors can be disruptive to efficient portfolio management and, consequently, can be detrimental to the Fund and its shareholders. See “Frequent trading of fund shares” in the Prospectus.

During times of drastic economic or market conditions, the Fund may suspend the exchange privilege temporarily without notice and treat exchange requests based on their separate components—redemption orders with a simultaneous request to purchase the other fund’s shares. In such a case, the redemption request would be processed at the Fund’s next determined NAV but the purchase order would be effective only at the NAV next determined after the fund being purchased formally accepts the order, which may result in the purchase being delayed.

Certain shareholders may be able to exchange shares by telephone. See the Fund’s Prospectus for additional information. Exchanges will be processed at the NAV next determined. Redemption procedures discussed above are also applicable for exchanging shares, and exchanges will be made upon receipt of all supporting documents in proper form. If the account registration of the shares of the fund being acquired is identical to the registration of the shares of the fund exchanged, no signature guarantee is required.

The exchange privilege may be modified or terminated at any time and is available only in those jurisdictions where such exchanges legally may be made. An exchange is treated as a sale of the shares exchanged and could result in taxable gain or loss to the shareholder making the exchange. Other taxes or tax-related consequences may apply, and you should consult your tax professional before requesting an exchange.

VALUATION OF SHARES

The NAV per share of each class of the Fund is generally calculated as of the close of regular trading (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) on each day on which the NYSE is open. As of the date of this SAI, the NYSE is normally open for trading every weekday except in the event of an emergency or for the following holidays (or the days on which they are observed): New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Juneteenth National Independence Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Because of the differences in distribution fees and class

 

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specific expenses, the per share NAV of each class of the Fund will differ. Please see the Fund’s Prospectus for a description of the procedures used by the Fund in valuing its assets.

PROXY VOTING GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURES

The Manager delegates to the Subadviser the responsibility for voting proxies for the Fund through its contracts with the Subadviser. The Subadviser may use its own proxy voting policies and procedures to vote proxies of the Fund if the Fund’s Board reviews and approves the use of those policies and procedures. Accordingly, the Manager does not expect to have proxy-voting responsibility for the Fund.

Should the Manager become responsible for voting proxies for any reason, such as the inability of the Subadviser to provide investment advisory services, the Manager shall utilize the proxy voting guidelines established by the most recent Subadviser to vote proxies until a new subadviser is retained and the use of its proxy voting policies and procedures is authorized by the Board. In the case of a material conflict between the interests of the Manager (or its affiliates if such conflict is known to persons responsible for voting at the Manager) and any fund, the Board of Directors of the Manager shall consider how to address the conflict and/or how to vote the proxies. The Manager shall maintain records of all proxy votes in accordance with applicable securities laws and regulations.

The Manager shall be responsible for gathering relevant documents and records related to proxy voting from the Subadviser and providing them to the Fund as required for the Fund to comply with applicable rules under the 1940 Act. The Manager shall also be responsible for coordinating the provision of information to the Board with regard to the proxy voting policies and procedures of the Subadviser, including the actual proxy voting policies and procedures of the Subadviser, changes to such policies and procedures, and reports on the administration of such policies and procedures.

The Subadviser’s proxy voting policies and procedures govern in determining how proxies relating to the Fund’s portfolio securities are voted. A copy of the proxy voting policies and procedures is attached as Appendix A to this SAI. Information regarding how the Fund voted proxies (if any) relating to portfolio securities during the most recent twelve month period ended June 30 is available without charge (1) by calling 877-6LM-FUND/656-3863, (2) on www.franklintempleton.com/mutualfundsliterature (click on the name of the Fund), and (3) on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.

DISCLOSURE OF PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS

The Fund’s Board has adopted policies and procedures (the “policy”) developed by the Manager with respect to the disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio securities and any ongoing arrangements to make available information about the Fund’s portfolio securities for the Legg Mason Funds. The Manager believes the policy is in the best interests of the Fund and its shareholders and that it strikes an appropriate balance between the desire of investors for information about fund portfolio holdings and the need to protect the Fund from potentially harmful disclosures.

General Rules/Website Disclosure

The policy provides that information regarding the Fund’s portfolio holdings may be shared at any time with employees of the Manager, the Fund’s Subadviser and other affiliated parties involved in the management, administration or operations of the Fund (referred to as fund-affiliated personnel). With respect to non-money market funds, the Fund’s complete list of holdings (including the size of each position) may be made available to investors, potential investors, third parties and Franklin Templeton personnel that are not fund-affiliated personnel (i) upon the filing of portfolio holdings reports in accordance with SEC rules, provided that such filings are not made until 15 calendar days following the end of the period covered by the applicable holdings report or (ii) no sooner than 8 business days after month end, provided that such information has been made available through public disclosure. Typically, public disclosure is achieved by required filings with the SEC and/or posting the information to the Fund’s Internet site that is accessible by the public, or through public release by a third party vendor.

The Fund currently discloses its complete portfolio holdings 14 calendar days after quarter-end. The Fund discloses this information on the Fund’s website: www.franklintempleton.com/mutualfundsliterature (click on the name of the Fund).

 

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Ongoing Arrangements

Under the policy, the Fund may release portfolio holdings information on a regular basis to a custodian, sub-custodian, fund accounting agent, proxy voting provider, rating agency or other vendor or service provider for a legitimate business purpose, where the party receiving the information is under a duty of confidentiality, including a duty to prohibit the sharing of non-public information with unauthorized sources and trading upon non-public information. The Fund may enter into other ongoing arrangements for the release of portfolio holdings information, but only if such arrangements serve a legitimate business purpose and are with a party who is subject to a confidentiality agreement and restrictions on trading upon non-public information. None of the Fund, Legg Mason or any other affiliated party may receive compensation or any other consideration in connection with such arrangements. Ongoing arrangements to make available information about the Fund’s portfolio securities will be reviewed at least annually by the Fund’s Board.

Set forth below is a list, as of December 31, 2021, of those parties with whom the Manager, on behalf of the Fund, has authorized ongoing arrangements that include the release of portfolio holdings information in accordance with the policy, as well as the maximum frequency of the release under such arrangements, and the minimum length of the lag, if any, between the date of the information and the date on which the information is disclosed. The ongoing arrangements may vary for each party, and it is possible that not every party will receive information for the Fund. The parties identified below as recipients are service providers, fund rating agencies, consultants and analysts.

 

Recipient

  

Frequency

  

Delay Before
Dissemination                    

1919 Investment Counsel, LLC    Daily    None
Barclays Bank PLC    Daily    None
Best Alternative Outsourcing Services LLP    Daily    None
Bloomberg AIM    Daily    None
Bloomberg L.P.    Daily    None
Bloomberg Portfolio Analysis    Daily    None
Brown Brothers Harriman    Daily    None
Charles River    Daily    None
Citco    Daily    None
Emerging Portfolio Fund Research, Inc. (EPFR), an Informa Company    Monthly    None
Enfusion Systems    Daily    None
ENSO LP    Daily    None
eVestment Alliance    Quarterly    8-10 Days
FactSet    Daily    None
HSBC Global Asset Management    Daily    None
Institutional Shareholder Services    Daily    None
ITG    Daily    None
Kailash Concepts    Monthly    None
Middle Office Solutions, LLC    Daily    None
Morgan Stanley Capital Inc.    Daily    None

 

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Morningstar    Daily    None
NaviSite, Inc.    Daily    None
StarCompliance    Daily    None
State Street Bank and Trust Company    Daily    None
SunGard/Protegent (formerly Dataware)    Daily    None
The Bank of New York Mellon    Daily    None
The Northern Trust Company    Daily    None
The Northern Trust Melbourne    Daily    None
Thomson    Semi-annually    None
Thomson Reuters    Daily    None
VPD Financial Software Consulting    Daily    None

Portfolio holdings information for the Fund may also be released from time to time pursuant to ongoing arrangements with the following parties:

 

Recipient

  

Frequency

  

Delay Before Dissemination

Broadridge    Daily    None
Deutsche Bank    Monthly    6-8 Business Days
DST International plc (DSTi)    Daily    None
Electra Information Systems    Daily    None
Fidelity    Quarterly    5 Business Days
Fitch    Monthly    6-8 Business Days
Frank Russell    Monthly    1 Day
Glass Lewis & Co.    Daily    None
Informa Investment Solutions    Quarterly    8-10 Days
Interactive Data Corp    Daily    None
Liberty Hampshire    Weekly and Month End    None
RBC Investor and Treasury Services    Daily    None
S&P (Rating Agency)    Weekly Tuesday Night    1 Business Day
SunTrust    Weekly and Month End    None

Excluded from the lists of ongoing arrangements set forth above are ongoing arrangements where either (i) the disclosure of portfolio holdings information occurs concurrently with or after the time at which the portfolio holdings information is included in a public filing with the SEC that is required to include the information, or (ii) the Fund’s portfolio holdings information is made available no earlier than the day next following the day on which the Fund makes the information available on its website, as disclosed in the Fund’s Prospectus. The approval of the Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer, or designee, must be

 

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obtained before entering into any new ongoing arrangement or altering any existing ongoing arrangement to make available portfolio holdings information, or with respect to any exceptions from the policy.

Release of Limited Portfolio Holdings Information

In addition to the ongoing arrangements described above, the Fund’s complete or partial list of holdings (including size of positions) may be released to another party on a one-time basis, provided the party receiving the information has executed a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement and provided that the specific release of information has been approved by the Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer or designee as consistent with the policy. By way of illustration and not of limitation, release of non-public information about the Fund’s portfolio holdings may be made (i) to a proposed or potential adviser or Subadviser(s) or other investment manager asked to provide investment management services to the Fund, or (ii) to a third party in connection with a program or similar trade.

In addition, the policy permits the release to investors, potential investors, third parties and Franklin Templeton personnel that are not fund-affiliated personnel of limited portfolio holdings information in other circumstances, including:

 

 

The Fund’s top ten securities, current as of month-end, and the individual size of each such security position may be released at any time following month-end with simultaneous public disclosure.

 

The Fund’s top ten securities positions (including the aggregate but not individual size of such positions) may be released at any time with simultaneous public disclosure.

 

A list of securities (that may include fund holdings together with other securities) followed by an investment professional (without position sizes or identification of particular funds) may be disclosed to sell-side brokers at any time for the purpose of obtaining research and/or market information from such brokers.

 

A trade in process may be discussed only with counterparties, potential counterparties and others involved in the transaction (i.e., brokers and custodians).

 

The Fund’s sector weightings, yield and duration (for fixed income and money market funds), performance attribution (e.g., analysis of the Fund’s out-performance or underperformance of its benchmark based on its portfolio holdings) and other summary and statistical information that does not include identification of specific portfolio holdings may be released, even if non-public, if such release is otherwise in accordance with the policy’s general principles.

 

A small number of the Fund’s portfolio holdings (including information that the Fund no longer holds a particular holding) may be released, but only if the release of the information could not reasonably be seen to interfere with current or future purchase or sales activities of the Fund and is not contrary to law.

 

The Fund’s portfolio holdings may be released on an as-needed basis to its legal counsel, counsel to its Independent Trustees and its independent public accounting firm, in required regulatory filings or otherwise to governmental agencies and authorities.

Exceptions to the Policy

The Fund’s Chief Compliance Officer, or designee, may, as is deemed appropriate, approve exceptions from the policy. Exceptions are granted only after a thorough examination and consultation with the Manager’s legal department, as necessary. Exceptions from the policy are reported annually to the Fund’s Board.

Limitations of Policy

The Fund’s portfolio holdings policy is designed to prevent sharing of portfolio information with third parties that have no legitimate business purpose for accessing the information. The policy may not be effective to limit access to portfolio holdings information in all circumstances, however. For example, the Manager or the Subadviser may manage accounts other than the Fund that have investment objectives and strategies similar to those of the Fund. Because these accounts, including the Fund, may be similarly managed, portfolio holdings may be similar across the accounts. In that case, an investor in another account managed by the Manager or the Subadviser may be able to infer the portfolio holdings of the Fund from the portfolio holdings in that investor’s account.

 

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THE TRUST

The certificate of trust to establish the Trust was filed with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation of Maryland on October 4, 2006. The Fund is a series of the Trust. As of April 16, 2007, the Fund was redomiciled as a series of the Trust. Prior thereto, the Fund was a series of Legg Mason Partners Investment Trust, a Massachusetts business trust. Prior to the reorganization of the Fund as a series of Legg Mason Partners Investment Trust, the Fund was a Maryland corporation. Prior to January 1, 2013, the Fund was named Legg Mason ClearBridge Aggressive Growth Fund. Prior to September 1, 2021, the Trust was named “Legg Mason Partners Equity Trust”.

The Trust is a Maryland statutory trust. A Maryland statutory trust is an unincorporated business association that is established under, and governed by, Maryland law. Maryland law provides a statutory framework for the powers, duties, rights and obligations of the Trustees and shareholders of a statutory trust, while the more specific powers, duties, rights and obligations of the Trustees and the shareholders are determined by the trustees as set forth in a trust’s declaration of trust. The Trust’s Declaration of Trust (the “Declaration”) provides that by becoming a shareholder of the Fund, each shareholder shall be expressly held to have agreed to be bound by the provisions of the Declaration and any other governing instrument of the Trust, such as the by-laws of the Trust, which contain additional rules governing the conduct of the business of the Trust.

Some of the more significant provisions of the Declaration are summarized below. The following summary is qualified in its entirety by reference to the applicable provisions of the Declaration.

Shareholder Voting

Under the Declaration, the Trustees have broad authority to direct the business and affairs of the Trust. The Declaration provides for shareholder voting as required by the 1940 Act or other applicable laws but otherwise permits, consistent with Maryland law, actions by the Trustees without seeking the consent of shareholders. For example, the Trustees are empowered to amend the Declaration or authorize the merger or consolidation of the Trust into another trust or entity, reorganize the Trust or any series or class into another trust or entity or a series or class of another entity, sell all or substantially all of the assets of the Trust or any series or class to another entity, or a series or class of another entity, terminate the Trust or any series or class, or adopt or amend the by-laws of the Trust, in each case without shareholder approval if the 1940 Act would not require such approval.

The Fund is not required to hold an annual meeting of shareholders, but the Fund will call special meetings of shareholders whenever required by the 1940 Act or by the terms of the Declaration. The Declaration provides for “dollar-weighted voting” which means that a shareholder’s voting power is determined, not by the number of shares he or she owns, but by the dollar value of those shares determined on the record date. All shareholders of record of all series and classes of the Trust vote together, except where required by the 1940 Act to vote separately by series or by class, or when the Trustees have determined that a matter affects only the interests of one or more series or classes of shares. There is no cumulative voting on any matter submitted to a vote of the shareholders.

Election and Removal of Trustees

The Declaration provides that the Trustees may establish the number of Trustees and that vacancies on the Board may be filled by the remaining Trustees, except when election of Trustees by the shareholders is required under the 1940 Act. When a vote of shareholders is required to elect Trustees, the Declaration provides that such Trustees shall be elected by a plurality of votes cast by shareholders at a meeting at which a quorum is present. The Declaration also provides that a mandatory retirement age may be set by action of two-thirds of the Trustees and that Trustees may be removed, with or without cause, by a vote of shareholders holding two-thirds of the voting power of the Trust, or by a vote of two-thirds of the remaining Trustees. The provisions of the Declaration relating to the election and removal of Trustees may not be amended without the approval of two-thirds of the Trustees.

Amendments to the Declaration

The Trustees are authorized to amend the Declaration without the vote of shareholders, but no amendment may be made that impairs the exemption from personal liability granted in the Declaration to persons who are or have been shareholders, Trustees, officers or, employees of the Trust or that limits the rights to indemnification, advancement of expenses

 

75


or insurance provided in the Declaration with respect to actions or omissions of persons entitled to indemnification, advancement of expenses or insurance under the Declaration prior to the amendment.

Issuance and Redemption of Shares

The Fund may issue an unlimited number of shares for such consideration and on such terms as the Trustees may determine. All shares offered pursuant to the Prospectus of the Fund, when issued, will be fully paid and non-assessable. Shareholders are not entitled to any appraisal rights with respect to their shares and, except as the Trustees may determine, shall have no preemptive, conversion, exchange or similar rights. The Fund may involuntarily redeem a shareholder’s shares upon certain conditions as may be determined by the Trustees, including, for example, if the shareholder fails to provide the Fund with identification required by law, or if the Fund is unable to verify the information received from the shareholder. Additionally, as discussed below, shares may be redeemed in connection with the closing of small accounts.

Disclosure of Shareholder Holdings

The Declaration specifically requires shareholders, upon demand, to disclose to the Fund such information with respect to their ownership of shares of the Fund, whether direct or indirect, as the Trustees may deem necessary in order to comply with various laws or regulations or for such other purpose as the Trustees may decide. The Fund may disclose such ownership information if required by law or regulation, or as the Trustees otherwise decide.

Small Accounts

The Declaration provides that the Fund may close out a shareholder’s account by redeeming all of the shares in the account if the account falls below a minimum account size (which may vary by class) that may be set by the Trustees from time to time. Alternately, the Declaration permits the Fund to assess a fee for small accounts (which may vary by class) and redeem shares in the account to cover such fees, or convert the shares into another share class that is geared to smaller accounts.

Series and Classes

The Declaration provides that the Trustees may establish series and classes in addition to those currently established and that the Trustees may determine the rights and preferences, limitations and restrictions, including qualifications for ownership, conversion and exchange features, minimum purchase and account size, expenses and charges, and other features of the series and classes. The Trustees may change any of those features, terminate any series or class, combine series with other series in the Trust, combine one or more classes of a series with another class in that series or convert the shares of one class into shares of another class.

Each share of the Fund, as a series of the Trust, represents an interest in the Fund only and not in the assets of any other series of the Trust.

Shareholder, Trustee and Officer Liability

The Declaration provides that shareholders are not personally liable for the obligations of the Fund and requires the Fund to indemnify a shareholder against any loss or expense claimed solely because of the shareholder’s being or having been a shareholder. The Fund will assume the defense of any claim against a shareholder for personal liability at the request of the shareholder. The Declaration further provides that a Trustee acting in his or her capacity as a Trustee is not personally liable to any person, other than the Trust or its shareholders, in connection with the affairs of the Trust. Each Trustee is required to perform his or her duties in good faith and in a manner he or she believes to be in the best interests of the Trust. All actions and omissions of Trustees are presumed to be in accordance with the foregoing standard of performance, and any person alleging the contrary has the burden of proving that allegation.

The Declaration limits a Trustee’s liability to the Trust or any shareholder to the fullest extent permitted under current Maryland law by providing that a Trustee is liable to the Trust or its shareholders for monetary damages only (a) to the extent that it is proved that he or she actually received an improper benefit or profit in money, property, or services or (b) to the extent that a judgment or other final adjudication adverse to the Trustee is entered in a proceeding based on a finding in the proceeding that the Trustee’s action, or failure to act, was the result of active and deliberate dishonesty and was material to the cause of action adjudicated in the proceeding. The Declaration requires the Trust to indemnify any persons who are or who have been Trustees, officers or employees of the Trust to the fullest extent permitted by law against liability and expenses in connection

 

76


with any claim or proceeding in which he or she is involved by virtue of having been a Trustee, officer or employee. Subject to applicable federal law, expenses related to the defense against any claim to which indemnification may apply shall be advanced by the Trust upon receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the recipient of those expenses to repay the advanced amount if it is ultimately found that he or she is not entitled to indemnification. In making any determination as to whether a person has engaged in conduct for which indemnification is not available, or as to whether there is reason to believe that such person ultimately will be found entitled to indemnification, such person shall be afforded a rebuttable presumption that he or she did not engage in conduct for which indemnification is not available.

The Declaration provides that any Trustee who serves as chair of the Board, a member or chair of a committee of the Board, lead independent Trustee, audit committee financial expert, or in any other similar capacity will not be subject to any greater standard of care or liability because of such position.

Derivative Actions

The Declaration provides a detailed process for the bringing of derivative actions by shareholders in order to permit legitimate inquiries and claims while avoiding the time, expense, distraction, and other harm that can be caused to the Fund or its shareholders as a result of spurious shareholder demands and derivative actions. Prior to bringing a derivative action, a demand by no fewer than three unrelated shareholders must be made on the Trustees. The Declaration details information, certifications, undertakings and acknowledgements that must be included in the demand. The Trustees are not required to consider a demand that is not submitted in accordance with the requirements contained in the Declaration. The Declaration also requires that, in order to bring a derivative action, the complaining shareholders must be joined in the action by shareholders owning, at the time of the alleged wrongdoing, at the time of demand, and at the time the action is commenced, shares representing at least 5% of the voting power of the affected funds. The Trustees have a period of 90 days, which may be extended for an additional period not to exceed 60 days, to consider the demand. If a majority of the Trustees who are considered independent for the purposes of considering the demand determine that a suit should be maintained, then the Trust will commence the suit and the suit will proceed directly and not derivatively. If a majority of the independent Trustees determines that maintaining the suit would not be in the best interests of the Fund, the Trustees are required to reject the demand and the complaining shareholders may not proceed with the derivative action unless the shareholders are able to sustain the burden of proof to a court that the decision of the Trustees not to pursue the requested action was not consistent with the standard of performance required of the Trustees in performing their duties. If a demand is rejected, the complaining shareholders will be responsible for the costs and expenses (including attorneys’ fees) incurred by the Trust in connection with the consideration of the demand, if, in the judgment of the independent Trustees, the demand was made without reasonable cause or for an improper purpose. If a derivative action is brought in violation of the Declaration, the shareholders bringing the action may be responsible for the Fund’s costs, including attorneys’ fees.

The Declaration further provides that the Fund shall be responsible for payment of attorneys’ fees and legal expenses incurred by a complaining shareholder only if required by law, and any attorneys’ fees that the Fund is obligated to pay shall be calculated using reasonable hourly rates. The Declaration also requires that actions by shareholders against the Trust or the Fund be brought only in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (Baltimore Division), or if such action may not be brought in that court, then such action shall be brought in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City and that the right to jury trial be waived to the fullest extent permitted by law.

The Declaration further provides that no provision of the Declaration will be effective to require a waiver of compliance with any provision of the 1933 Act, the 1934 Act or the 1940 Act, or of any valid rule, regulation or order of the Commission thereunder.

TAXES

The following is a summary of certain material U.S. federal (and, where noted, state and local) income tax considerations affecting the Fund and its shareholders. This discussion is very general and does not address all the potential U.S. federal income tax consequences that may be applicable to the Fund or to all categories of investors, some of which may be subject to special tax rules. This summary is based upon the Code, its legislative history, Treasury regulations (including temporary and proposed regulations), published rulings, and court decisions, each as of the date of this SAI and all of which are subject to change, possibly with retroactive effect, which could affect the continuing accuracy of this discussion. This discussion assumes that each shareholder holds its shares of the Fund as capital assets for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Current and

 

77


prospective shareholders are urged to consult their own tax professionals with respect to the specific federal, state, local, and foreign tax consequences of investing in the Fund.

Tax Treatment of the Fund

The Fund has elected to be treated, and intends to qualify each year, as a “regulated investment company” under Subchapter M of the Code. To qualify as such, the Fund must, among other things: (a) derive at least 90% of its gross income in each taxable year from dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities loans, gains from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities or foreign currencies, other income (including, but not limited to, gains from options, futures, or forward contracts) derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities or currencies, and net income derived from interests in “qualified publicly traded partnerships” (i.e., partnerships (x) the interests in which are traded on an established securities market or are readily tradable on a secondary market or the substantial equivalent thereof, and (y) that derive less than 90% of their income from sources described in this subparagraph (a) other than qualified publicly traded partnerships); and (b) diversify its holdings so that, at the end of each quarter of the Fund’s taxable year, (i) at least 50% of the market value of the Fund’s assets consists of cash, securities of other regulated investment companies, U.S. government securities, and other securities, with such other securities limited, in respect of any one issuer, to an amount not greater than 5% of the value of the Fund’s assets and not more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer and (ii) not more than 25% of the value of the Fund’s assets is invested, including through corporations in which the Fund owns a 20% or larger voting stock interest, (x) in the securities (other than U.S. government securities or securities of other regulated investment companies) of any one issuer, (y) in the securities (other than the securities of other regulated investment companies) of any two or more issuers that the Fund controls and that are treated as engaged in the same, similar, or related trades or businesses, or (z) in the securities of one or more “qualified publicly traded partnerships,” which generally include master limited partnerships.

In general, for purposes of the 90% gross income test described above, income derived from a partnership will be treated as qualifying income only to the extent such income is attributable to items of income of the partnership which would be qualifying income if realized directly by the Fund. However, 100% of the net income derived from an interest in a qualified publicly traded partnership will be treated as qualifying income. In general, qualified publicly traded partnerships will be treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes because they meet a passive income requirement under the Code. In addition, although in general the passive loss rules of the Code do not apply to regulated investment companies, such rules do apply to a regulated investment company with respect to items attributable to interests in qualified publicly traded partnerships. The Fund’s investments in partnerships, if any, including in qualified publicly traded partnerships, may result in the Fund being subject to state, local, or foreign income, franchise, or withholding tax liabilities.

For purposes of the diversification test described above, the term “outstanding voting securities of such issuer” will include the equity securities of a qualified publicly traded partnership. Also, for purposes of the diversification test, the identification of the issuer (or, in some cases, issuers) of a particular Fund investment can depend on the terms and conditions of that investment. In some cases, identification of the issuer (or issuers) is uncertain under current law, and an adverse determination or future guidance by the IRS with respect to issuer identification for a particular type of investment may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to meet the diversification test.

As a regulated investment company, the Fund will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the portion of its taxable investment income and capital gains that it distributes, provided that it satisfies a minimum distribution requirement. To satisfy the minimum distribution requirement, the Fund must distribute at least the sum of (i) 90% of its “investment company taxable income” (i.e., generally, its taxable income other than the excess of its net long-term capital gain over its net short-term capital loss, plus or minus certain other adjustments, and calculated without regard to the deduction for dividends paid), and (ii) 90% of its net tax-exempt income for the taxable year. The Fund will be subject to income tax at the regular corporate tax rate on any taxable income or gains that it does not distribute.

If, for any taxable year, the Fund were to fail to qualify as a regulated investment company under the Code or were to fail to meet the distribution requirement, it would be taxed in the same manner as an ordinary corporation, and distributions would not be deductible by the Fund in computing its taxable income. In addition, in the event of a failure to qualify, the Fund’s distributions, including any distributions of net tax-exempt income and net long-term capital gains, would be taxable to shareholders as ordinary dividend income for U.S. federal income tax purposes to the extent of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits. However, such dividends would be eligible, subject to any generally applicable limitations, (i) to be treated as qualified dividend income in the case of shareholders taxed as individuals and (ii) for the dividends-received

 

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deduction in the case of corporate shareholders. Moreover, if the Fund were to fail to qualify as a regulated investment company in any year, it would be required to pay out its earnings and profits accumulated in that year in order to qualify again as a regulated investment company. If the Fund were to fail to meet the income, diversification, or distribution test described above, the Fund could in some cases cure such failure, including by paying a Fund-level tax, paying interest, making additional distributions, or disposing of certain assets. In particular, if in the first instance, the Fund does not satisfy the diversification test as of a particular quarter end, it will have up to 30 days after that quarter end to adjust its holdings in order to comply with the test retroactively. Portfolio transactions executed by the Fund in order to comply with the diversification test will increase the Fund’s portfolio turnover and trading costs and may increase the amount of taxes payable by shareholders to the extent any capital gains are realized as a result of such transactions. If the Fund were to fail to qualify as a regulated investment company for a period greater than two taxable years, the Fund would generally be required to recognize any net built-in gains with respect to certain of its assets upon a disposition of such assets within five years of qualifying as a regulated investment company in a subsequent year.

If the Fund were to fail to distribute in a calendar year at least the sum of (i) 98% of its ordinary income for that year and (ii) 98.2% of its capital gain net income (i.e., the excess of all gains from sales or exchanges of capital assets over the losses from such sales or exchanges) for the one-year period ending October 31 of that year (or November 30 or December 31 of that year if the Fund is permitted to elect and so elects) it would be subject to a 4% nondeductible excise tax. For this purpose, however, any ordinary income or capital gain net income that is retained by the Fund and subject to corporate income tax will be considered to have been distributed by year end. In addition, the minimum amounts that must be distributed in any year to avoid the excise tax will be increased or decreased to reflect any underdistribution or overdistribution, as the case may be, from the previous year. For purposes of the required excise tax distribution, a regulated investment company’s ordinary gains and losses from the sale, exchange or other taxable disposition of property that would otherwise be taken into account after October 31 of a calendar year (or November 30 of that year if the regulated investment company makes the election described above) generally are treated as arising on January 1 of the following calendar year; in the case of a fund with a December 31 year end that makes the election described above, no such gains or losses will be so treated. The Fund anticipates that it will pay such dividends and will make such distributions as are necessary to avoid the application of this excise tax, but there can be no assurance that it will be able to do so. In determining its net capital gain (i.e., net realized long-term capital gains in excess of net realized short-term capital losses, including any capital loss carryforwards), its taxable income, and its earnings and profits, a regulated investment company generally is permitted to elect to treat part or all of any post-October capital loss (defined as any net capital loss attributable to the portion of the taxable year after October 31, or if there is no such loss, the net long-term capital loss or net short-term capital loss attributable to such portion of the taxable year), or late-year ordinary loss (generally, the sum of its (i) net ordinary loss from the sale, exchange or other taxable disposition of property, attributable to the portion of the taxable year after October 31 and its (ii) other net ordinary loss attributable to the portion of the taxable year after December 31) as if incurred in the succeeding taxable year.

Tax Treatment of the Fund’s Investments

The Fund’s transactions in zero coupon securities, foreign currencies, forward contracts, options, and futures contracts (including options and futures contracts on foreign currencies), if any, will be subject to special provisions of the Code (including provisions relating to “hedging transactions” and “straddles”) that, among other things, may affect the character of gains and losses realized by the Fund (i.e., may affect whether gains or losses are ordinary or capital), accelerate recognition of income to the Fund, and defer Fund losses. These rules could therefore affect the character, amount, and timing of distributions to shareholders. These provisions also (a) will require the Fund to “mark to market” certain types of the positions in its portfolio (i.e., require the Fund to treat all unrealized gains and losses with respect to those positions as though they were realized at the end of each year) and (b) may cause the Fund to recognize income prior to or without receiving cash with which to pay dividends or make distributions in amounts necessary to satisfy the distribution requirements for avoiding income and excise taxes. In order to distribute this income and avoid a tax at the Fund level, the Fund might be required to sell portfolio securities that it might otherwise have continued to hold, potentially resulting in additional taxable gain or loss.

As a result of entering into swap contracts, if any, the Fund may make or receive periodic net payments. The Fund may also make or receive a payment when a swap is terminated prior to maturity through an assignment of the swap or other closing transaction. Periodic net payments will generally constitute ordinary income or deductions, while termination of a swap will generally result in capital gain or loss (which will be a long-term capital gain or loss if the Fund has been a party to the swap for more than one year). With respect to certain types of swaps, the Fund may be required to recognize currently income or loss with

 

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respect to future payments on such swaps or may elect under certain circumstances to mark such swaps to market annually for tax purposes as ordinary income or loss.

Any investments by the Fund in so-called “section 1256 contracts,” such as regulated futures contracts, most foreign currency forward contracts traded in the interbank market, and options on most stock indexes, are subject to special tax rules. Any section 1256 contracts held by the Fund at the end of its taxable year (and, for purposes of the 4% excise tax, on certain later dates as prescribed under the Code) are required to be marked to their market value, and any unrealized gain or loss on those positions will be included in the Fund’s income as if each position had been sold for its fair market value at the end of the taxable year. The resulting gain or loss will be combined with any gain or loss realized by the Fund from positions in section 1256 contracts closed during the taxable year. Provided such positions were held as capital assets and were neither part of a “hedging transaction” nor part of a “straddle,” 60% of the resulting net gain or loss will be treated as long-term capital gain or loss, and 40% of such net gain or loss will be treated as short-term capital gain or loss, regardless of the period of time the positions were actually held by the Fund.

In general, option premiums received by the Fund are not immediately included in the income of the Fund. Instead, the premiums are recognized when the option contract expires, the option is exercised by the holder, or the Fund transfers or otherwise terminates the option (e.g., through a closing transaction). If a call option written by the Fund is exercised and the Fund sells or delivers the underlying security, the Fund generally will recognize capital gain or loss equal to (a) sum of the strike price and the option premium received by the Fund minus (b) the Fund’s basis in the security. Such gain or loss generally will be short-term or long-term depending upon the holding period of the underlying security. If securities are purchased by the Fund pursuant to the exercise of a put option written by it, the Fund generally will subtract the premium received for purposes of computing its cost basis in the securities purchased. Gain or loss arising in respect of a termination of the Fund’s obligation under an option other than through the exercise of the option will be short-term gain or loss depending on whether the premium income received by the Fund is greater or less than the amount paid by the Fund (if any) in terminating the transaction. Thus, for example, if an option written by the Fund expires unexercised, the Fund generally will recognize short-term gain equal to the premium received.

In general, gain or loss on a short sale is recognized when the Fund closes the sale by delivering the borrowed property to the lender, not when the borrowed property is sold. Gain or loss from a short sale is generally considered as capital gain or loss to the extent that the property used to close the short sale constitutes a capital asset in the Fund’s hands. Except with respect to certain situations where the property used by the Fund to close a short sale has a long-term holding period on the date of the short sale, special rules generally treat the gains on short sales as short-term capital gains. These rules may also terminate the running of the holding period of “substantially identical property” held by the Fund. Moreover, a loss on a short sale will be treated as a long-term capital loss if, on the date of the short sale, “substantially identical property” has been held by the Fund for more than one year.

The Fund may purchase debt obligations with original issue discount (“OID”), market discount, or acquisition discount. Some debt obligations with a fixed maturity date of more than one year from the date of issuance (and all zero-coupon debt obligations with a fixed maturity date of more than one year from the date of issuance) will be treated as debt obligations that are issued with OID. Generally, the amount of the OID is treated as interest income and is included in taxable income (and is accordingly required to be distributed by the Fund) over the term of the debt security, even though payment of that amount is not received until a later time, usually when the debt security matures. Periodic adjustments for inflation in the principal value of inflation-indexed bonds also may be treated as OID that is includible in the Fund’s gross income on a current basis.

Some debt obligations with a fixed maturity date of more than one year from the date of issuance that are acquired in the secondary market may be treated as having “market discount.” Very generally, market discount is the excess of the stated redemption price of a debt obligation (or in the case of an obligation issued with OID, its “revised issue price”) over the purchase price of such obligation. Under the Code, (i) generally, any gain recognized on the disposition of, and any partial payment of principal on, a debt security having market discount is treated as ordinary income to the extent the gain, or principal payment, does not exceed the “accrued market discount” on such debt security, (ii) alternatively, the Fund may elect to accrue market discount currently, in which case the Fund will be required to include the accrued market discount in the Fund’s income (as ordinary income) and thus distribute it over the term of the debt security, even though payment of that amount is not received until a later time, upon partial of full repayment or disposition of the debt security, and (iii) the rate at which the market discount accrues, and thus is included in the Fund’s income, will depend upon which of the permitted accrual methods the Fund elects.

 

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Some debt obligations with a fixed maturity date of one year or less from the date of issuance that are acquired by the Fund may be treated as having OID or, in certain cases, “acquisition discount” (very generally, the excess of the stated redemption price over the purchase price). The Fund will be required to include the OID or acquisition discount in income (as ordinary income) and thus distribute it over the term of the debt security, even though payment of that amount is not received until a later time, upon partial or full repayment or disposition of the debt security. The rate at which OID or acquisition discount accrues, and thus is included in the Fund’s income, will depend upon which of the permitted accrual methods the Fund elects.

Because the OID, market discount, or acquisition discount earned by the Fund in a taxable year may exceed the total amount of cash interest the Fund receives from the relevant debt obligations, the Fund may have to dispose of one or more of its investments, including at a time when it is not advantageous to do so, and use the proceeds thereof to make distributions in amounts necessary to satisfy the distribution requirements. The Fund may realize capital gains or losses from such dispositions, which would increase or decrease the Fund’s investment company taxable income and/or net capital gain.

In addition, payment-in-kind securities held by the Fund, if any, will give rise to income which is required to be distributed and is taxable even though the Fund receives no interest payment in cash on the security during the year.

Very generally, where the Fund purchases a bond at a price that exceeds the redemption price at maturity (i.e., a premium), the premium is amortizable over the remaining term of the bond. In the case of a taxable bond, if the Fund makes an election applicable to all such bonds it purchases, which election is irrevocable without consent of the IRS, the Fund reduces the current taxable income from the bond by the amortized premium and reduces its tax basis in the bond by the amount of such offset; upon the disposition or maturity of such bonds acquired on or after January 4, 2013, the Fund is permitted to deduct any remaining premium allocable to a prior period. In the case of a tax-exempt bond, tax rules require the Fund to reduce its tax basis by the amount of amortized premium.

The Fund may invest in debt obligations that are in the lowest rating categories or are unrated, including debt obligations of issuers not currently paying interest or that are in default. Investments in debt obligations that are at risk of or in default present special tax issues for the Fund. Tax rules are not entirely clear about issues such as when the Fund may cease to accrue interest, OID or market discount, when and to what extent deductions may be taken for bad debts or worthless securities, and how payments received on obligations in default should be allocated between principal and income. These and other related issues will be addressed by the Fund when, as, and if it invests in such securities, in order to seek to ensure that it distributes sufficient income to preserve its eligibility for treatment as a regulated investment company and does not become subject to U.S. federal income or excise tax.

A portion of the interest paid or accrued on high yield obligations may not (and interest paid on debt obligations, if any, that are considered for tax purposes to be payable in the equity of the issuer or a related party will not) be deductible to the issuer. If a portion of the interest paid or accrued on certain high yield discount obligations is not deductible by the issuer, that portion will be treated as a dividend for purposes of the corporate dividends-received deduction. In such cases, if the issuer of the high yield discount obligations is a domestic corporation, dividend payments by the Fund may be eligible for the dividends-received deduction to the extent of the deemed dividend portion of such accrued interest.

The Fund may be required to treat amounts as taxable income or gain, subject to the distribution requirements referred to above, even though no corresponding amounts of cash are received concurrently, as a result of (1) mark-to-market rules, constructive sale rules or rules applicable to passive foreign investment companies (“PFICs”), to partnerships or trusts in which the Fund invests or to certain options, futures, or forward contracts, or “appreciated financial positions,” (2) the inability to obtain cash distributions or other amounts due to currency controls or restrictions on repatriation imposed by a foreign country with respect to the Fund’s investments (including through depositary receipts) in issuers in such country, or (3) tax rules applicable to debt obligations acquired with OID, including zero-coupon or deferred payment bonds and pay-in-kind debt obligations, or to market discount if the Fund elects to accrue such market discount currently. In order to distribute this income and avoid a tax on the Fund, the Fund might be required to liquidate portfolio securities that it might otherwise have continued to hold, potentially resulting in additional taxable gain or loss. The Fund might also meet the distribution requirements by borrowing the necessary cash, thereby incurring interest expenses.

Foreign Investments

Dividends, interest or other income (including, in some cases, capital gains) received by the Fund from investments in foreign securities may be subject to withholding and other taxes imposed by foreign countries. Even if the Fund is entitled to seek

 

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a refund in respect of such taxes, it may choose not to. Tax conventions between certain countries and the United States may reduce or eliminate such taxes in some cases. The Fund does not expect to be eligible to elect to pass foreign taxes through to its shareholders, who therefore will not be entitled to credits or deductions on their own tax returns for foreign taxes paid by the Fund. Foreign taxes paid by the Fund may reduce the return from the Fund’s investments.

Under certain circumstances, if the Fund receives a refund of foreign taxes paid in respect of a prior year, the value of Fund shares could be affected or any foreign tax credits or deductions passed through to shareholders in respect of the Fund’s foreign taxes for the current year could be reduced.

Under Section 988 of the Code, gains or losses attributable to fluctuations in exchange rates between the time the Fund accrues income or receivables or expenses or other liabilities denominated in a foreign currency and the time the Fund actually collects such income or pays such liabilities are generally treated as ordinary income or ordinary loss. Similarly, gains or losses on foreign currency, foreign currency forward contracts, certain foreign currency options or futures contracts and the disposition of debt securities denominated in foreign currency, to the extent attributable to fluctuations in exchange rates between the acquisition and disposition dates, are also treated as ordinary income or loss unless the Fund were to elect otherwise.

Passive Foreign Investment Companies. If the Fund purchases equity interests (including certain interests treated as equity interests) in foreign entities treated as PFICs for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and does not timely make certain elections, it may be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a portion of any “excess distribution” or gain from the disposition of such shares even if such income is distributed as a taxable dividend by the Fund to its shareholders. Additional charges in the nature of interest may be imposed on the Fund in respect of deferred taxes arising from such distributions or gains.

In general, a PFIC is any foreign corporation in which (i) 75% or more of the gross income for the taxable year is passive income, or (ii) the average percentage of the assets (generally by value, but by adjusted tax basis in certain cases) that produce, or are held for the production of, passive income is at least 50%. Generally, passive income for this purpose means dividends, interest (including income equivalent to interest), royalties, rents, annuities, the excess of gains over losses from certain property transactions and commodities transactions, income from certain notional principal contracts, and foreign currency gains. Passive income for this purpose does not include certain types of passive income excepted by the Code and other guidance.

If the Fund were to invest in a PFIC and timely elect to treat the PFIC as a “qualified electing fund” under the Code for the first year of its holding period in the PFIC stock, in lieu of the foregoing requirements, the Fund would generally be required to include in income each year a portion of the ordinary earnings and net capital gains of the qualified electing fund, even if not distributed to the Fund, and such amounts would be subject to the 90% and excise tax distribution requirements described above. In order to distribute this income and avoid a tax at the Fund level, the Fund might be required to liquidate portfolio securities that it might otherwise have continued to hold, potentially resulting in additional taxable gain or loss. In order to make the “qualified electing fund” election, the Fund would be required to obtain certain annual information from the PFICs in which it invests, which may be difficult or impossible to obtain. Dividends paid by PFICs will not be eligible to be treated as “qualified dividend income.”

If the Fund were to invest in a PFIC and make a mark-to-market election, the Fund would be treated as if it had sold and repurchased its stock in that PFIC at the end of each year. In such case, the Fund would report any such gains as ordinary income and would deduct any such losses as ordinary losses to the extent of previously recognized gains. Such an election must be made separately for each PFIC owned by the Fund and, once made, would be effective for all subsequent taxable years of the Fund, unless revoked with the consent of the IRS. By making the election, the Fund could potentially ameliorate the adverse tax consequences with respect to its ownership of shares in a PFIC, but in any particular year might be required to recognize income in excess of the distributions it receives from PFICs and its proceeds from dispositions of PFIC stock. The Fund might have to distribute such excess income and gain to satisfy the 90% distribution requirement and to avoid imposition of the 4% excise tax. In order to distribute this income and avoid a tax at the Fund level, the Fund might be required to liquidate portfolio securities that it might otherwise have continued to hold, potentially resulting in additional taxable gain or loss.

No Capital Loss Carryforwards

As of August 31, 2022, the Fund had no unused capital loss carryforwards.

 

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Taxation of U.S. Shareholders

Dividends and Distributions. Dividends and other distributions by the Fund are generally treated under the Code as received by the shareholders at the time the dividend or distribution is made. However, if any dividend or distribution is declared by the Fund in October, November, or December of any calendar year and payable to shareholders of record on a specified date in such a month but is actually paid during the following January, such dividend or distribution will be deemed to have been received by each shareholder on December 31 of the year in which the dividend was declared.

The Fund intends to distribute annually substantially all of its investment company taxable income (determined without regard to the dividends-paid deduction), and any net capital gain. However, if the Fund retains for investment an amount equal to all or a portion of its net capital gain, it will be subject to a corporate tax on the amount retained. In that event, the Fund may designate such retained amounts as undistributed capital gains in a notice to its shareholders who (a) will be required to include in income for U.S. federal income tax purposes, as long-term capital gains, their proportionate shares of the undistributed amount, (b) will be entitled to credit their proportionate shares of the income tax paid by the Fund on the undistributed amount against their U.S. federal income tax liabilities, if any, and to claim refunds to the extent their credits exceed their liabilities, if any, and (c) will be entitled to increase their tax basis, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, in their shares by an amount equal to their share of the excess of the amount of undistributed net capital gain included in their income over the income paid by the Fund on the undistributed amount. Organizations or persons not subject to U.S. federal income tax on such capital gains will be entitled to a refund of their pro rata share of such taxes paid by the Fund upon timely filing appropriate returns or claims for refund with the IRS.

Distributions of net investment income and of net realized short-term capital gains, whether paid in cash or in shares, are taxable to a U.S. shareholder as ordinary income or, if certain conditions are met, as “qualified dividend income,” taxable to individual and certain other non-corporate shareholders at the rates applicable to long-term capital gain. Distributions of net capital gain, if any, that the Fund reports as capital gain dividends are taxable as long-term capital gains, whether paid in cash or in shares, and regardless of how long a shareholder has held shares of the Fund. The IRS and the Department of the Treasury have issued regulations that impose special reporting of capital gain dividends by the Fund in order to allow capital gain dividends to be taxable at reduced rates in the hands of certain noncorporate taxpayers who hold shares of the Fund through entities treated as partnerships.

In general, dividends may be reported by the Fund as qualified dividend income if they are attributable to qualified dividend income received by the Fund. Qualified dividend income generally means dividend income received from the Fund’s investments in common and preferred stock of U.S. corporations and stock of certain qualified foreign corporations, provided that certain holding period and other requirements are met by both the Fund and the shareholders. If 95% or more of the Fund’s gross income (calculated without taking into account net capital gain derived from sales or other dispositions of stock or securities) consists of qualified dividend income, the Fund may report all distributions of such income as qualified dividend income.

A foreign corporation is treated as a qualified foreign corporation for this purpose if it is incorporated in a possession of the United States or it is eligible for the benefits of certain income tax treaties with the United States and meets certain additional requirements. Certain foreign corporations that are not otherwise qualified foreign corporations will be treated as qualified foreign corporations with respect to dividends paid by them if the stock with respect to which the dividends are paid is readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States. PFICs are not qualified foreign corporations for this purpose.

A dividend that is attributable to qualified dividend income of the Fund that is paid by the Fund to a shareholder will not be taxable as qualified dividend income to such shareholder (1) if the dividend is received with respect to any share of the Fund held for fewer than 61 days during the 121-day period beginning on the date which is 60 days before the date on which such share became ex-dividend with respect to such dividend, (2) to the extent that the shareholder is under an obligation (whether pursuant to a short sale or otherwise) to make related payments with respect to positions in substantially similar or related property, or (3) if the shareholder elects to have the dividend treated as investment income for purposes of the limitation on deductibility of investment interest. The “ex-dividend” date is the date on which the owner of the share at the commencement of such date is entitled to receive the next issued dividend payment for such share even if the share is sold by the owner on that date or thereafter.

Certain dividends received by the Fund from U.S. corporations (generally, dividends received by the Fund in respect of any share of stock (1) with a tax holding period of at least 46 days during the 91-day period beginning on the date that is 45 days

 

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before the date on which the stock becomes ex-dividend as to that dividend and (2) that is held in an unleveraged position) and distributed and appropriately so reported by the Fund may be eligible for the dividends-received deduction generally available to corporations under the Code. Certain preferred stock must have a holding period of at least 91 days during the 181-day period beginning on the date that is 90 days before the date on which the stock becomes ex-dividend as to that dividend in order to be eligible. In order to qualify for the deduction, corporate shareholders must meet the minimum holding period requirement stated above with respect to their Fund shares, taking into account any holding period reductions from certain hedging or other transactions or positions that diminish their risk of loss with respect to their Fund shares, and, if they borrow to acquire or otherwise incur debt attributable to Fund shares, they may be denied a portion of the dividends-received deduction with respect to those shares. Any corporate shareholder should consult its tax professional regarding the possibility that its tax basis in its shares may be reduced, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, by reason of “extraordinary dividends” received with respect to the shares and, to the extent such basis would be reduced below zero, current recognition of income may be required.

Under Section 163(j) of the Code, a taxpayer’s business interest expense is generally deductible to the extent of the taxpayer’s business interest income plus certain other amounts. If the Fund earns business interest income, it may report a portion of its dividends as “Section 163(j) interest dividends,” which its shareholders may be able to treat as business interest income for purposes of Section 163(j) of the Code. The Fund’s “Section 163(j) interest dividend” for a tax year will be limited to the excess of its business interest income over the sum of its business interest expense and other deductions properly allocable to its business interest income. In general, the Fund’s shareholders may treat a distribution reported as a Section 163(j) interest dividend as interest income only to the extent the distribution exceeds the sum of the portions of the distribution reported as other types of tax-favored income. To be eligible to treat a Section 163(j) interest dividend as interest income, a shareholder may need to meet certain holding period requirements in respect of the Fund shares and must not have hedged its position in the Fund shares in certain ways.

The Code generally imposes a 3.8% Medicare contribution tax on the net investment income of U.S. individuals to the extent their income exceeds certain threshold amounts. The 3.8% tax also applies to all or a portion of the undistributed net investment income of certain shareholders that are estates and trusts. For these purposes, “net investment income” generally includes, among other things, (i) distributions paid by the Fund of net investment income and capital gains as described above, and (ii) any net gain from the sale, exchange or other taxable disposition of Fund shares.

Certain tax-exempt educational institutions will be subject to a 1.4% tax on net investment income. For these purposes, certain dividends and capital gain distributions, and certain gains from the disposition of Fund shares (among other categories of income), are generally taken into account in computing a shareholder’s net investment income.

Distributions in excess of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits will, as to each shareholder, be treated as a tax-free return of capital to the extent of the shareholder’s basis in his or her shares of the Fund, and as a capital gain thereafter (if the shareholder holds his or her shares of the Fund as capital assets). One or more of the Fund’s distributions during the year may include such a return of capital distribution. Each shareholder who receives distributions in the form of additional shares will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as if receiving a distribution in an amount equal to the amount of money that the shareholder would have received if he or she had instead elected to receive cash distributions. The shareholder’s aggregate tax basis in shares of the Fund will be increased by such amount.

Investors considering buying shares just prior to a dividend or capital gain distribution should be aware that, although the price of shares purchased at that time may reflect the amount of the forthcoming distribution, such dividend or distribution may nevertheless be taxable to them.

If Fund shares are held through a qualified retirement plan entitled to tax-advantaged treatment for federal income tax purposes, distributions will generally not be taxable currently. Special tax rules apply to such retirement plans. You should consult your tax professional regarding the tax treatment of distributions (which may include amounts attributable to Fund distributions) which may be taxable when distributed from the retirement plan.

Sale, Exchange or Redemption of Shares. Upon the sale or exchange of his or her shares, a shareholder will generally recognize a taxable gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount realized and his or her basis in the shares. A redemption of shares by the Fund will be treated as a sale for this purpose. Such gain or loss will be treated as capital gain or loss if the shares are capital assets in the shareholder’s hands, and will be long-term capital gain or loss if the shareholder held such shares for more than one year and short-term capital gain or loss if the shareholder held

 

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such shares for one year or less. Any loss realized on a sale or exchange will be disallowed to the extent the shares disposed of are replaced, including by reinvesting dividends or capital gains distributions in the Fund, within a 61-day period beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the disposition of the shares. In such a case, the basis of the shares acquired will be increased to reflect the disallowed loss. Any loss realized by a shareholder on the sale of Fund shares held by the shareholder for six months or less will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a long-term capital loss to the extent of any distributions or deemed distributions of long-term capital gains received by the shareholder (including amounts credited to the shareholder as undistributed capital gains) with respect to such shares during that six-month period.

If a shareholder incurs a sales charge in acquiring shares of the Fund, disposes of those shares within 90 days and then by January 31 of the calendar year following the year of disposition acquires shares in a mutual fund for which the otherwise applicable sales charge is reduced by reason of a reinvestment right (e.g., an exchange privilege), the original sales charge will not be taken into account in computing gain or loss on the original shares to the extent the subsequent sales charge is reduced. Instead, the disregarded portion of the original sales charge will be added to the tax basis of the newly acquired shares. Furthermore, the same rule also applies to a disposition of the newly acquired shares made within 90 days of the second acquisition. This provision prevents a shareholder from immediately deducting the sales charge by shifting his or her investment within a family of mutual funds.

If a shareholder recognizes a loss with respect to the Fund’s shares of $2 million or more for an individual shareholder or $10 million or more for a corporate shareholder (or certain greater amounts over a combination of years), the shareholder must file with the IRS a disclosure statement on IRS Form 8886. Direct shareholders of portfolio securities are in many cases excepted from this reporting requirement, but under current guidance, shareholders of a regulated investment company are not excepted. The fact that a loss is so reportable does not affect the legal determination of whether the taxpayer’s treatment of the loss is proper.

If a shareholder’s shares are redeemed to pay a fee because the shareholder’s account balance is less than a certain threshold, the redemption will be treated as a taxable sale or exchange of shares, as described above. Such a fee generally will not be deductible by a shareholder that is an individual for any taxable year beginning before January 1, 2026, and, for other taxable years, the deductibility of such a fee by a shareholder that is an individual may be subject to generally applicable limitations on miscellaneous itemized deductions.

Basis Reporting. The Fund, or, in the case of a shareholder holding shares through a Service Agent, the Service Agent, will report to the IRS the amount of proceeds that a shareholder receives from a redemption or exchange of Fund shares. For redemptions or exchanges of shares acquired on or after January 1, 2012, the Fund will also report the shareholder’s basis in those shares and the character of any gain or loss that the shareholder realizes on the redemption or exchange (i.e., short-term or long-term), and certain related tax information. If a shareholder has a different basis for different shares of the Fund in the same account (e.g., if a shareholder purchased Fund shares held in the same account when the shares were at different prices), the Fund will by default report the basis of the shares redeemed or exchanged using the average basis method, under which the basis per share is the average of the bases of all the shareholder’s Fund shares in the account. For these purposes, shares acquired prior to January 1, 2012 and shares acquired on or after January 1, 2012 will generally be treated as held in separate accounts.

A shareholder may instruct the Fund to use a method other than average basis for an account. If redemptions, including in connection with payment of an account fee, or exchanges have occurred in an account to which the average basis method applied, the basis of the Fund shares remaining in the account will continue to reflect the average basis notwithstanding the shareholder’s subsequent election of a different method. For further assistance, shareholders who hold their shares directly with the Fund may call the Fund at 877-6LM-FUND/656-3863. Shareholders who hold shares through a Service Agent should contact the Service Agent for further assistance or for information regarding the Service Agent’s default method for calculating basis and procedures for electing to use an alternative method. Shareholders should consult their tax professionals concerning the tax consequences of applying the average basis method or electing another method of basis calculation and should consider electing such other method prior to making redemptions or exchanges in their accounts.

Backup Withholding. The Fund may be required in certain circumstances to apply backup withholding on dividends, distributions and redemption proceeds payable to non-corporate shareholders who fail to provide the Fund with their correct taxpayer identification numbers or to make required certifications, or who have been notified by the IRS that they are subject to

 

85


backup withholding. Certain shareholders are exempt from backup withholding. Backup withholding is not an additional tax and any amount withheld may be credited against a shareholder’s U.S. federal income tax liability.

Notices. Shareholders will receive, if appropriate, various written notices after the close of the Fund’s taxable year regarding the U.S. federal income tax status of certain dividends, distributions and redemption proceeds that were paid (or that are treated as having been paid) by the Fund during the preceding taxable year. In certain cases, the Fund may be required to amend the tax information reported to you with respect to a particular year. In this event, you may be required to file amended U.S. federal income or other tax returns with respect to such amended information and, if applicable, to pay additional taxes (including potentially interest and penalties) or to seek a tax refund and may incur other related costs.

Other Taxes

Dividends, distributions and redemption proceeds may also be subject to additional state, local and foreign taxes depending on each shareholder’s particular situation. Generally, shareholders will have to pay state or local taxes on Fund dividends and other distributions, although distributions derived from interest on U.S. government obligations (but not distributions of gain from the sale of such obligations) may be exempt from certain state and local taxes.

Taxation of Non-U.S. Shareholders

Ordinary dividends and certain other payments made by the Fund to shareholders that are not “United States persons” within the meaning of the Code (“non-U.S. shareholders”) are generally subject to withholding tax at a 30% rate (or a reduced rate under an applicable treaty). In order to obtain a reduced rate of withholding under a treaty, a non-U.S. shareholder will be required to provide an IRS Form W-8BEN or similar form certifying its entitlement to benefits under the treaty. A non-U.S. shareholder who fails to provide an IRS Form W-8BEN or other applicable form may be subject to backup withholding at the appropriate rate. Backup withholding will not be applied to payments that have already been subject to the 30% withholding tax.

The 30% withholding tax described in the preceding paragraph generally will not apply to redemption proceeds or to distributions to non-U.S. shareholders that are properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends, short-term capital gain dividends, and interest-related dividends, each as defined and subject to certain conditions described below.

In general, (1) “short-term capital gain dividends” are distributions of net short-term capital gains in excess of net long-term capital losses and (2) “interest-related dividends” are distributions derived from U.S.-source interest income of types similar to those not subject to U.S. federal income tax if earned directly by an individual non-U.S. shareholder, in each case to the extent such distributions are properly reported as such by the Fund in a written notice to shareholders. The exceptions to withholding for capital gain dividends and short-term capital gain dividends do not apply to (A) distributions to an individual non-U.S. shareholder who is present in the United States for a period or periods aggregating 183 days or more during the year of the distribution and (B) distributions attributable to gain that is treated as effectively connected with the conduct by the non-U.S. shareholder of a trade or business within the United States, under special rules regarding the disposition of “United States real property interests” (“USRPIs”) as described below. The exception to withholding for interest-related dividends does not apply to distributions to a non-U.S. shareholder (A) that has not provided a satisfactory statement that the beneficial owner is not a U.S. person, (B) to the extent that the dividend is attributable to certain interest on an obligation if the non-U.S. shareholder is the issuer or is a 10% shareholder of the issuer, (C) that is within certain foreign countries that have inadequate information exchange with the United States, or (D) to the extent the dividend is attributable to interest paid by a person that is a related person of the non-U.S. shareholder and the non-U.S. shareholder is a controlled foreign corporation.

If income from the Fund is effectively connected with a trade or business conducted within the United States by a non-U.S. shareholder, the non-U.S. shareholder will in general be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the income at the rates applicable to U.S. citizens, residents or domestic corporations, as applicable, whether the income is received in cash or reinvested in shares of the Fund, and, in the case of a non-U.S. shareholder that is a foreign corporation, the non-U.S. shareholder may also be subject to a branch profits tax. If a non-U.S. shareholder is eligible for the benefits of a tax treaty, its effectively connected income or gain will generally be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a net income basis only if the income or gain is also attributable to a permanent establishment maintained by the shareholder in the United States. More generally, the U.S. federal income tax consequences of an investment in the Fund for non-U.S. shareholders who are residents in a country with an income tax treaty with the United States may be different from those described herein, and those shareholders are urged to consult their tax advisors.

 

86


A non-U.S. shareholder is not, in general, subject to U.S. federal income tax on gains (and is not allowed a deduction for losses) realized on the sale of shares of the Fund unless (i) such gain is effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business carried on by the non-U.S. shareholder within the United States, (ii) in the case of a non-U.S. shareholder that is an individual, the holder is present in the United States for a period or periods aggregating 183 days or more during the year of the sale and certain other conditions are met or (iii) the special rules relating to gain attributable to the sale or exchange of USRPIs apply to the non-U.S. shareholder’s sale of shares of the Fund.

Special rules would apply if the Fund were a qualified investment entity (“QIE”) because it is either a “United States real property holding corporation” (“USRPHC”) or would be a USRPHC but for the operation of certain exceptions to the definition of USRPIs described below. Very generally, a USRPHC is a domestic corporation that holds USRPIs the fair market value of which equals or exceeds 50% of the sum of the fair market values of the corporation’s USRPIs, interests in real property located outside the United States, and other trade or business assets. USRPIs are generally defined as any interest in U.S. real property and any interest (other than solely as a creditor) in a USRPHC or, very generally, an entity that has been a USRPHC in the last five years. A regulated investment company that holds, directly or indirectly, significant interests in real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) may be a USRPHC. Interests in domestically controlled QIEs, including REITs and regulated investment companies that are QIEs, not-greater-than-10% interests in publicly traded classes of stock in REITs and not-greater-than-5% interests in publicly traded classes of stock in regulated investment companies generally are not USRPIs, but these exceptions do not apply for purposes of determining whether the Fund is a QIE. If an interest in the Fund were a USRPI, the Fund would be required to withhold U.S. tax on the proceeds of a share redemption by a greater-than-5% non-U.S. shareholder, in which case such non-U.S. shareholder generally would also be required to file U.S. federal income tax returns and pay any additional taxes due in connection with the redemption.

If the Fund were a QIE, under a special “look through” rule, any distributions by the Fund to a non-U.S. shareholder (including, in certain cases, distributions made by the Fund in redemption of its shares) attributable directly or indirectly to (i) distributions received by the Fund from a lower-tier regulated investment company or REIT that the Fund is required to treat as USRPI gain in its hands and (ii) gains realized on the disposition of USRPIs by the Fund would retain their character as gains realized from USRPIs in the hands of the non-U.S. shareholder and would be subject to U.S. tax withholding. In addition, such distributions could result in the non-U.S. shareholder being required to file a U.S. federal income tax return and pay tax on the distributions at regular U.S. federal income tax rates. The consequences to a non-U.S. shareholder, including the rate of such withholding and character of such distributions (e.g., as ordinary income or USRPI gain), would vary depending upon the extent of the non-U.S. shareholder’s current and past ownership of the Fund.

Under legislation commonly known as “FATCA,” the Fund is required to withhold 30% of certain ordinary dividends it pays to shareholders that fail to meet prescribed information reporting or certification requirements. In general, no such withholding will be required with respect to a U.S. person or non-U.S. individual that timely provides the certifications required by the Fund or its agent on a valid IRS Form W-9 or applicable IRS Form W-8, respectively. Shareholders potentially subject to withholding include foreign financial institutions (“FFIs”), such as non-U.S. investment funds, and non-financial foreign entities (“NFFEs”). To avoid withholding under FATCA, an FFI generally must enter into an information sharing agreement with the IRS in which it agrees to report certain identifying information (including name, address, and taxpayer identification number) with respect to its U.S. account holders (which, in the case of an entity shareholder, may include its direct and indirect U.S. owners), and an NFFE generally must identify and provide other required information to the Fund or other withholding agent regarding its U.S. owners, if any. Such non-U.S. shareholders also may fall into certain exempt, excepted or deemed compliant categories as established by regulations and other guidance. A non-U.S. shareholder in a country that has entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the U.S. to implement FATCA will be exempt from FATCA withholding provided that the shareholder and the applicable foreign government comply with the terms of such agreement.

A non-U.S. entity that invests in the Fund will need to provide the Fund with documentation properly certifying the entity’s status under FATCA in order to avoid FATCA withholding.

Non-U.S. investors should consult their own tax professionals regarding the impact of these requirements on their investment in the Fund.

 

87


CODES OF ETHICS

Pursuant to Rule 17j-1 under the 1940 Act, the Fund, the Manager, the Subadviser and the Distributor each has adopted a code of ethics that permits its personnel to invest in securities for their own accounts, including securities that may be purchased or held by the Fund. All personal securities transactions by employees must adhere to the requirements of the codes of ethics. Copies of the codes of ethics applicable to personnel of the Fund, the Manager, the Subadviser, the Distributor and the Independent Trustees are on file with the SEC.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

The Fund’s Annual Report to shareholders for the fiscal period ended August 31, 2022, contains the Fund’s audited financial statements, accompanying notes and the report of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm, all of which are incorporated by reference into this SAI

(https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/880366/000119312522270776/d391277dncsr.htm). These audited financial statements are available free of charge upon request by calling the Fund at 877-6LM-FUND/656-3863.

 

88


Appendix A

Proxy Voting Policies

CLEARBRIDGE INVESTMENTS

PROXY VOTING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

AMENDED AS OF FEBRUARY 2022

 

I.

Types of Accounts for Which ClearBridge Votes Proxies

 

II.

General Guidelines

 

III.

How ClearBridge Votes

 

IV.

Conflicts of Interest

 

  a.

Procedures for Identifying Conflicts of Interest

 

  b.

Procedures for Assessing Materiality of Conflicts of Interest and for Addressing Material Conflicts of Interest

 

  c.

Third Party Proxy Voting Firm - Conflicts of Interest

 

V.

Voting Policy

 

  a.

Election of Directors

 

  b.

Proxy Contests

 

  c.

Auditors

 

  d.

Proxy Contest Defenses

 

  e.

Tender Offer Defenses

 

  f.

Miscellaneous Governance Provisions

 

  g.

Capital Structure

 

  h.

Executive and Director Compensation

 

  i.

State/Country of Incorporation

 

  j.

Mergers and Corporate Restructuring

 

  k.

Social and Environmental Issues

 

  l.

Miscellaneous

 

VI.

Other Considerations

 

  a.

Share Blocking

 

  b.

Securities on Loan

 

VII.

Disclosure of Proxy Voting

 

VIII.

Recordkeeping and Oversight

 

A-1


CLEARBRIDGE INVESTMENTS

Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures

 

I.

TYPES OF ACCOUNTS FOR WHICH CLEARBRIDGE VOTES PROXIES

ClearBridge votes proxies for each client for which it has investment discretion unless the investment management agreement provides that the client or other authorized party (e.g., a trustee or named fiduciary of a plan) is responsible for voting proxies.

 

II.

GENERAL GUIDELINES

In voting proxies, we are guided by general fiduciary principles. Our goal is to act prudently, solely in the best interest of the beneficial owners of the accounts we manage. We attempt to provide for the consideration of all factors that could affect the value of the investment and will vote proxies in the manner that we believe will be consistent with efforts to maximize shareholder values.

 

III.

HOW CLEARBRIDGE VOTES

Section V of these policies and procedures sets forth certain stated positions. In the case of a proxy issue for which there is a stated position, we generally vote in accordance with the stated position. In the case of a proxy issue for which there is a list of factors set forth in Section V that we consider in voting on such issue, we consider those factors and vote on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the general principles set forth above. In the case of a proxy issue for which there is no stated position or list of factors that we consider in voting on such issue, we vote on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the general principles set forth above. We may utilize an external service provider to provide us with information and/or a recommendation with regard to proxy votes but we are not required to follow any such recommendations. The use of an external service provider does not relieve us of our responsibility for the proxy vote.

For routine matters, we usually vote according to our policy or the external service provider’s recommendation, although we are not obligated to do so and each individual portfolio management team may vote contrary to our policy or the recommendation of the external service provider. If a matter is non-routine, e.g., management’s recommendation is different than that of the external service provider and ClearBridge is a significant holder or it is a significant holding for ClearBridge, the issues will be highlighted to the appropriate investment teams. Different investment teams may vote differently on the same issue, depending upon their assessment of clients’ best interests.

ClearBridge’s policies are reviewed annually and its proxy voting process is overseen and coordinated by its Proxy Committee.

 

IV.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

In furtherance of ClearBridge’s goal to vote proxies in the best interests of clients, ClearBridge follows procedures designed to identify and address material conflicts that may arise between ClearBridge’s interests and those of its clients before voting proxies on behalf of such clients.

 

  A.

Procedures for Identifying Conflicts of Interest

ClearBridge relies on the following to seek to identify conflicts of interest with respect to proxy voting:

 

  1.

ClearBridge’s employees are periodically reminded of their obligation (i) to be aware of the potential for conflicts of interest on the part of ClearBridge with respect to voting proxies on behalf of client accounts both as a result of their personal relationships or personal or business relationships relating to another Franklin Resources, Inc. (“Franklin”) business unit, and (ii) to bring conflicts of interest of which they become aware to the attention of ClearBridge’s General Counsel/Chief Compliance Officer.

 

A-2


  2.

ClearBridge’s finance area maintains and provides to ClearBridge Compliance and proxy voting personnel an up- to-date list of all client relationships that have historically accounted for or are projected to account for greater than 1% of ClearBridge’s net revenues.

 

  3.

As a general matter, ClearBridge takes the position that relationships between a non-ClearBridge Franklin unit and an issuer (e.g., investment management relationship between an issuer and a non-ClearBridge Franklin affiliate) do not present a conflict of interest for ClearBridge in voting proxies with respect to such issuer because ClearBridge operates as an independent business unit from other Franklin business units and because of the existence of informational barriers between ClearBridge and certain other Franklin business units. As noted above, ClearBridge employees are under an obligation to bring such conflicts of interest, including conflicts of interest which may arise because of an attempt by another Franklin business unit or non-ClearBridge Franklin officer or employee to influence proxy voting by ClearBridge to the attention of ClearBridge Compliance.

 

  4.

A list of issuers with respect to which ClearBridge has a potential conflict of interest in voting proxies on behalf of client accounts will be maintained by ClearBridge proxy voting personnel. ClearBridge will not vote proxies relating to such issuers until it has been determined that the conflict of interest is not material or a method for resolving the conflict of interest has been agreed upon and implemented, as described in Section IV below.

 

  B.

Procedures for Assessing Materiality of Conflicts of Interest and for Addressing Material Conflicts of Interest

  1.

ClearBridge maintains a Proxy Committee which, among other things, reviews and addresses conflicts of interest brought to its attention. The Proxy Committee is comprised of such ClearBridge personnel (and others, at ClearBridge’s request), as are designated from time to time. The current members of the Proxy Committee are set forth in the Proxy Committee’s Terms of Reference.

 

  2.

All conflicts of interest identified pursuant to the procedures outlined in Section IV. A. must be brought to the attention of the Proxy Committee for resolution. A proxy issue that will be voted in accordance with a stated ClearBridge position on such issue or in accordance with the recommendation of an independent third party generally is not brought to the attention of the Proxy Committee for a conflict of interest review because ClearBridge’s position is that any conflict of interest issues are resolved by voting in accordance with a pre-determined policy or in accordance with the recommendation of an independent third party.

 

  3.

The Proxy Committee will determine whether a conflict of interest is material. A conflict of interest will be considered material to the extent that it is determined that such conflict is likely to influence, or appear to influence, ClearBridge’s decision-making in voting the proxy. All materiality determinations will be based on an assessment of the particular facts and circumstances. A written record of all materiality determinations made by the Proxy Committee will be maintained.

 

  4.

If it is determined by the Proxy Committee that a conflict of interest is not material, ClearBridge may vote proxies notwithstanding the existence of the conflict.

 

  5.

If it is determined by the Proxy Committee that a conflict of interest is material, the Proxy Committee will determine an appropriate method to resolve such conflict of interest before the proxy affected by the conflict of interest is voted. Such determination shall be based on the particular facts and circumstances, including the importance of the proxy issue, the nature of the conflict of interest, etc. Such methods may include:

 

   

disclosing the conflict to clients and obtaining their consent before voting;

 

   

suggesting to clients that they engage another party to vote the proxy on their behalf;

 

   

in the case of a conflict of interest resulting from a particular employee’s personal relationships, removing such employee from the decision-making process with respect to such proxy vote; or

 

A-3


   

such other method as is deemed appropriate given the particular facts and circumstances, including the importance of the proxy issue, the nature of the conflict of interest, etc.*

A written record of the method used to resolve a material conflict of interest shall be maintained.

 

  C.

Third Party Proxy Voting Firm - Conflicts of Interest

With respect to a third-party proxy voting firm described herein, the Proxy Committee will periodically review and assess such firm’s policies, procedures and practices with respect to the disclosure and handling of conflicts of interest.

 

V.

VOTING POLICY

These are policy guidelines that can always be superseded, subject to the duty to act solely in the best interest of the beneficial owners of accounts, by the investment management professionals responsible for the account holding the shares being voted. There may be occasions when different investment teams vote differently on the same issue. In addition, in the case of Taft-Hartley clients, ClearBridge will comply with a client direction to vote proxies in accordance with Institutional Shareholder Services’ (ISS) PVS Proxy Voting Guidelines, which ISS represents to be fully consistent with AFL-CIO guidelines.

 

  A.

Election of Directors

  1.

Voting on Director Nominees in Uncontested Elections.

 

  a.

We withhold our vote from a director nominee who:

 

   

attended less than 75 percent of the company’s board and committee meetings without a valid excuse (illness, service to the nation/local government, work on behalf of the company);

 

   

received more than 50 percent withheld votes of the shares cast at the previous board election, and the company has failed to address the issue as to why;

 

   

is a member of the company’s audit committee, when excessive non-audit fees were paid to the auditor, or there are chronic control issues and an absence of established effective control mechanisms;

 

   

is a member of the company’s compensation committee if the compensation committee ignore a say on pay proposal that a majority of shareholders opposed;

 

   

is a member of the company’s nominating committee and there is no gender diversity on the board (or those currently proposed for election to the board do not meet that criterion).

 

   

is a member of the company’s nominating committee and there is no racial/ethnic diversity on the board (or those currently proposed for election to the board do not meet that criterion).1

 

  b.

We vote for all other director nominees.

 

  2.

Chairman and CEO is the Same Person.

 

* Especially in the case of an apparent, as opposed to actual, conflict of interest, the Proxy Committee may resolve such conflict of interest by satisfying itself that ClearBridge’s proposed vote on a proxy issue is in the best interest of client accounts and is not being influenced by the conflict of interest.

1. This position only applies to Anglo markets which is defined as US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

 

A-4


We vote on a case-by-case basis on shareholder proposals that would require the positions of the Chairman and CEO to be held by different persons. We would generally vote FOR such a proposal unless there are compelling reasons to vote against the proposal, including:

 

   

Designation of a lead director

 

   

Majority of independent directors (supermajority)

 

   

All independent key committees

 

   

Size of the company (based on market capitalization)

 

   

Established governance guidelines

 

   

Company performance

 

  3.

Majority of Independent Directors

 

  a.

We vote for shareholder proposals that request that the board be comprised of a majority of independent directors. Generally that would require that the director have no connection to the company other than the board seat. In determining whether an independent director is truly independent (e.g. when voting on a slate of director candidates), we consider certain factors including, but not necessarily limited to, the following: whether the director or his/her company provided professional services to the company or its affiliates either currently or in the past year; whether the director has any transactional relationship with the company; whether the director is a significant customer or supplier of the company; whether the director is employed by a foundation or university that received significant grants or endowments from the company or its affiliates; and whether there are interlocking directorships.

 

  b.

We vote for shareholder proposals that request that the board audit, compensation and/or nominating committees include independent directors exclusively.

 

  4.

Stock Ownership Requirements

We vote against shareholder proposals requiring directors to own a minimum amount of company stock in order to qualify as a director, or to remain on the board.

 

  5.

Term of Office

We vote against shareholder proposals to limit the tenure of independent directors.

 

  6.

Director and Officer Indemnification and Liability Protection

 

  a.

Subject to subparagraphs 2, 3, and 4 below, we vote for proposals concerning director and officer indemnification and liability protection.

 

  b.

We vote for proposals to limit and against proposals to eliminate entirely director and officer liability for monetary damages for violating the duty of care.

 

  c.

We vote against indemnification proposals that would expand coverage beyond just legal expenses to acts, such as negligence, that are more serious violations of fiduciary obligations than mere carelessness.

 

  d.

We vote for only those proposals that provide such expanded coverage noted in subparagraph 3 above in cases when a director’s or officer’s legal defense was unsuccessful if: (1) the director was found to have acted in good faith and in a manner that he reasonably believed was in the best interests of the company, and (2) if only the director’s legal expenses would be covered.

 

  7.

Director Qualifications

 

A-5


  a.

We vote case-by-case on proposals that establish or amend director qualifications. Considerations include how reasonable the criteria are and to what degree they may preclude dissident nominees from joining the board.

 

  b.

We vote against shareholder proposals requiring two candidates per board seat.

 

  B.

Proxy Contests

 

  1.

Voting for Director Nominees in Contested Elections

We vote on a case-by-case basis in contested elections of directors. Considerations include: chronology of events leading up to the proxy contest; qualifications of director nominees (incumbents and dissidents); for incumbents, whether the board is comprised of a majority of outside directors; whether key committees (i.e.: nominating, audit, compensation) comprise solely of independent outsiders; discussion with the respective portfolio manager(s).

 

  2.

Reimburse Proxy Solicitation Expenses

We vote on a case-by-case basis on proposals to provide full reimbursement for dissidents waging a proxy contest. Considerations include: identity of persons who will pay solicitation expenses; cost of solicitation; percentage that will be paid to proxy solicitation firms.

 

  C.

Auditors

 

  1.

Ratifying Auditors

We vote for proposals to ratify auditors, unless an auditor has a financial interest in or association with the company, and is therefore not independent; or there is reason to believe that the independent auditor has rendered an opinion that is neither accurate nor indicative of the company’s financial position or there is reason to believe the independent auditor has not followed the highest level of ethical conduct. Specifically, we will vote to ratify auditors if the auditors only provide the company audit services and such other audit-related and non-audit services the provision of which will not cause such auditors to lose their independence under applicable laws, rules and regulations.

 

  2.

Financial Statements and Director and Auditor Reports

We generally vote for management proposals seeking approval of financial accounts and reports and the discharge of management and supervisory board members, unless there is concern about the past actions of the company’s auditors or directors.

 

  3.

Remuneration of Auditors

We vote for proposals to authorize the board or an audit committee of the board to determine the remuneration of auditors, unless there is evidence of excessive compensation relative to the size and nature of the company.

 

  4.

Indemnification of Auditors

We vote against proposals to indemnify auditors.

 

  D.

Proxy Contest Defenses

 

  1.

Board Structure: Staggered vs. Annual Elections

 

  a.

We vote against proposals to classify the board.

 

  b.

We vote for proposals to repeal classified boards and to elect all directors annually.

 

  2.

Shareholder Ability to Remove Directors

 

  a.

We vote against proposals that provide that directors may be removed only for cause.

 

A-6


  b.

We vote for proposals to restore shareholder ability to remove directors with or without cause.

 

  c.

We vote against proposals that provide that only continuing directors may elect replacements to fill board vacancies.

 

  d.

We vote for proposals that permit shareholders to elect directors to fill board vacancies.

 

  3.

Cumulative Voting

 

  a.

If plurality voting is in place for uncontested director elections, we vote for proposals to permit or restore cumulative voting.

 

  b.

If majority voting is in place for uncontested director elections, we vote against cumulative voting.

 

  c.

If plurality voting is in place for uncontested director elections, and proposals to adopt both cumulative voting and majority voting are on the same slate, we vote for majority voting and against cumulative voting.

 

  4.

Majority Voting

We vote for non-binding and/or binding resolutions requesting that the board amend a company’s by-laws to stipulate that directors need to be elected with an affirmative majority of the votes cast, provided that it does not conflict with the state law where the company is incorporated. In addition, all resolutions need to provide for a carve-out for a plurality vote standard when there are more nominees than board seats (i.e. contested election). In addition, ClearBridge strongly encourages companies to adopt a post-election director resignation policy setting guidelines for the company to follow to promptly address situations involving holdover directors.

 

  5.

Shareholder Ability to Call Special Meetings

 

  a.

We vote against proposals to restrict or prohibit shareholder ability to call special meetings.

 

  b.

We vote for proposals that provide shareholders with the ability to call special meetings, taking into account a minimum ownership threshold of 10 percent (and investor ownership structure, depending on bylaws).

 

  6.

Shareholder Ability to Act by Written Consent

 

  a.

We vote against proposals to restrict or prohibit shareholder ability to take action by written consent.

 

  b.

We vote for proposals to allow or make easier shareholder action by written consent.

 

  7.

Shareholder Ability to Alter the Size of the Board

 

  a.

We vote for proposals that seek to fix the size of the board.

 

  b.

We vote against proposals that give management the ability to alter the size of the board without shareholder approval.

 

  8.

Advance Notice Proposals

We vote on advance notice proposals on a case-by-case basis, giving support to those proposals which allow shareholders to submit proposals as close to the meeting date as reasonably possible and within the broadest window possible.

 

  9.

Amendment of By-Laws

 

  a.

We vote against proposals giving the board exclusive authority to amend the by-laws.

 

  b.

We vote for proposals giving the board the ability to amend the by-laws in addition to shareholders.

 

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  10.

Article Amendments (not otherwise covered by ClearBridge Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures).

We review on a case-by-case basis all proposals seeking amendments to the articles of association.

We vote for article amendments if:

 

   

shareholder rights are protected;

 

   

there is negligible or positive impact on shareholder value;

 

   

management provides adequate reasons for the amendments; and

 

   

the company is required to do so by law (if applicable).

 

  E.

Tender Offer Defenses

 

  1.

Poison Pills

 

  a.

We vote for shareholder proposals that ask a company to submit its poison pill for shareholder ratification.

 

  b.

We vote on a case-by-case basis on shareholder proposals to redeem a company’s poison pill. Considerations include: when the plan was originally adopted; financial condition of the company; terms of the poison pill.

 

  c.

We vote on a case-by-case basis on management proposals to ratify a poison pill. Considerations include: sunset provision - poison pill is submitted to shareholders for ratification or rejection every 2 to 3 years; shareholder redemption feature -10% of the shares may call a special meeting or seek a written consent to vote on rescinding the rights plan.

 

  2.

Fair Price Provisions

 

  a.

We vote for fair price proposals, as long as the shareholder vote requirement embedded in the provision is no more than a majority of disinterested shares.

 

  b.

We vote for shareholder proposals to lower the shareholder vote requirement in existing fair price provisions.

 

  3.

Greenmail

 

  a.

We vote for proposals to adopt anti-greenmail charter or bylaw amendments or otherwise restrict a company’s ability to make greenmail payments.

 

  b.

We vote on a case-by-case basis on anti-greenmail proposals when they are bundled with other charter or bylaw amendments.

 

  4.

Unequal Voting Rights

 

  a.

We vote against dual class exchange offers.

 

  b.

We vote against dual class re-capitalization.

 

  5.

Supermajority Shareholder Vote Requirement to Amend the Charter or Bylaws

 

  a.

We vote against management proposals to require a supermajority shareholder vote to approve charter and bylaw amendments.

 

  b.

We vote for shareholder proposals to lower supermajority shareholder vote requirements for charter and bylaw amendments.

 

  6.

Supermajority Shareholder Vote Requirement to Approve Mergers

 

  a.

We vote against management proposals to require a supermajority shareholder vote to approve mergers and other significant business combinations.

 

A-8


  b.

We vote for shareholder proposals to lower supermajority shareholder vote requirements for mergers and other significant business combinations.

 

  7.

White Knight/Squire Placements

We vote for shareholder proposals to require approval of blank check preferred stock issues.

 

  F.

Miscellaneous Governance Provisions

 

  1.

Confidential Voting

 

  a.

We vote for shareholder proposals that request corporations to adopt confidential voting, use independent tabulators and use independent inspectors of election as long as the proposals include clauses for proxy contests as follows: in the case of a contested election, management is permitted to request that the dissident group honor its confidential voting policy. If the dissidents agree, the policy remains in place. If the dissidents do not agree, the confidential voting policy is waived.

 

  b.

We vote for management proposals to adopt confidential voting subject to the proviso for contested elections set forth in sub-paragraph A.1. above.

 

  2.

Equal Access

We vote for shareholder proposals that would allow significant company shareholders equal access to management’s proxy material in order to evaluate and propose voting recommendations on proxy proposals and director nominees, and in order to nominate their own candidates to the board.

 

  3.

Bundled Proposals

We vote on a case-by-case basis on bundled or “conditioned” proxy proposals. In the case of items that are conditioned upon each other, we examine the benefits and costs of the packaged items. In instances when the joint effect of the conditioned items is not in shareholders’ best interests and therefore not in the best interests of the beneficial owners of accounts, we vote against the proposals. If the combined effect is positive, we support such proposals.

 

  4.

Shareholder Advisory Committees

We vote on a case-by-case basis on proposals to establish a shareholder advisory committee. Considerations include: rationale and cost to the firm to form such a committee. We generally vote against such proposals if the board and key nominating committees are comprised solely of independent/outside directors.

 

  5.

Other Business

We vote for proposals that seek to bring forth other business matters.

 

  6.

Adjourn Meeting

We vote on a case-by-case basis on proposals that seek to adjourn a shareholder meeting in order to solicit additional votes.

 

  7.

Lack of Information

We vote against proposals if a company fails to provide shareholders with adequate information upon which to base their voting decision.

 

  G.

Capital Structure

 

  1.

Common Stock Authorization

 

  a.

We vote on a case-by-case basis on proposals to increase the number of shares of common stock authorized for issue, except as described in paragraph 2 below.

 

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  b.

Subject to paragraph 3, below we vote for the approval requesting increases in authorized shares if the company meets certain criteria:

 

   

Company has already issued a certain percentage (i.e. greater than 50%) of the company’s allotment.

 

   

The proposed increase is reasonable (i.e. less than 150% of current inventory) based on an analysis of the company’s historical stock management or future growth outlook of the company.

 

  c.

We vote on a case-by-case basis, based on the input of affected portfolio managers, if holding is greater than 1% of an account.

 

  2.

Stock Distributions: Splits and Dividends

We vote on a case-by-case basis on management proposals to increase common share authorization for a stock split, provided that the split does not result in an increase of authorized but unissued shares of more than 100% after giving effect to the shares needed for the split.

 

  3.

Reverse Stock Splits

We vote for management proposals to implement a reverse stock split, provided that the reverse split does not result in an increase of authorized but unissued shares of more than 100% after giving effect to the shares needed for the reverse split.

 

  4.

Blank Check Preferred Stock

 

  a.

We vote against proposals to create, authorize or increase the number of shares with regard to blank check preferred stock with unspecified voting, conversion, dividend distribution and other rights.

 

  b.

We vote for proposals to create “declawed” blank check preferred stock (stock that cannot be used as a takeover defense).

 

  c.

We vote for proposals to authorize preferred stock in cases where the company specifies the voting, dividend, conversion, and other rights of such stock and the terms of the preferred stock appear reasonable.

 

  d.

We vote for proposals requiring a shareholder vote for blank check preferred stock issues.

 

  5.

Adjust Par Value of Common Stock

We vote for management proposals to reduce the par value of common stock.

 

  6.

Preemptive Rights

 

  a.

We vote on a case-by-case basis for shareholder proposals seeking to establish them and consider the following factors:

 

   

Size of the Company.

 

   

Characteristics of the size of the holding (holder owning more than 1% of the outstanding shares).

 

   

Percentage of the rights offering (rule of thumb less than 5%).

 

  b.

We vote on a case-by-case basis for shareholder proposals seeking the elimination of pre-emptive rights.

 

  7.

Debt Restructuring

 

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We vote on a case-by-case basis for proposals to increase common and/or preferred shares and to issue shares as part of a debt-restructuring plan. Generally, we approve proposals that facilitate debt restructuring.

 

  8.

Share Repurchase Programs

We vote for management proposals to institute open-market share repurchase plans in which all shareholders may participate on equal terms.

 

  9.

Dual-Class Stock

We vote for proposals to create a new class of nonvoting or sub voting common stock if:

 

   

It is intended for financing purposes with minimal or no dilution to current shareholders

 

   

It is not designed to preserve the voting power of an insider or significant shareholder

 

  10.

Issue Stock for Use with Rights Plan

We vote against proposals that increase authorized common stock for the explicit purpose of implementing a shareholder rights plan (poison pill).

 

  11.

Debt Issuance Requests

When evaluating a debt issuance request, the issuing company’s present financial situation is examined. The main factor for analysis is the company’s current debt-to-equity ratio, or gearing level. A high gearing level may incline markets and financial analysts to downgrade the company’s bond rating, increasing its investment risk factor in the process. A gearing level up to 100 percent is considered acceptable.

We vote for debt issuances for companies when the gearing level is between zero and 100 percent.

We view on a case-by-case basis proposals where the issuance of debt will result in the gearing level being greater than 100 percent. Any proposed debt issuance is compared to industry and market standards.

 

  12.

Financing Plans

We generally vote for the adopting of financing plans if we believe they are in the best economic interests of shareholders.

 

  H.

Executive and Director Compensation

In general, we vote for executive and director compensation plans, with the view that viable compensation programs reward the creation of stockholder wealth by having high payout sensitivity to increases in shareholder value. Certain factors, however, such as repricing underwater stock options without shareholder approval, would cause us to vote against a plan. Additionally, in some cases we would vote against a plan deemed unnecessary.

 

  1.

OBRA-Related Compensation Proposals

 

  a.

Amendments that Place a Cap on Annual Grant or Amend Administrative Features

We vote for plans that simply amend shareholder-approved plans to include administrative features or place a cap on the annual grants any one participant may receive to comply with the provisions of Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code.

 

  b.

Amendments to Added Performance-Based Goals

We vote for amendments to add performance goals to existing compensation plans to comply with the provisions of Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code.

 

  c.

Amendments to Increase Shares and Retain Tax Deductions Under OBRA

 

A-11


We vote for amendments to existing plans to increase shares reserved and to qualify the plan for favorable tax treatment under the provisions of Section 162(m) the Internal Revenue Code.

 

  d.

Approval of Cash or Cash-and-Stock Bonus Plans

We vote for cash or cash-and-stock bonus plans to exempt the compensation from taxes under the provisions of Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code.

 

  2.

Expensing of Options

We vote for proposals to expense stock options on financial statements.

 

  3.

Shareholder Proposals to Limit Executive and Director Pay

 

  a.

We vote on a case-by-case basis on all shareholder proposals that seek additional disclosure of executive and director pay information. Considerations include: cost and form of disclosure. We vote for such proposals if additional disclosure is relevant to shareholder’s needs and would not put the company at a competitive disadvantage relative to its industry.

 

  b.

We vote on a case-by-case basis on all other shareholder proposals that seek to limit executive and director pay.

 

  4.

Reports to Assess the Feasibility of Including Sustainability as a Performance Metric

We vote in favor of non-binding proposals for reports on the feasibility of including sustainability as a performance metric for senior executive compensation.

We have a policy of voting to reasonably limit the level of options and other equity-based compensation arrangements available to management to reasonably limit shareholder dilution and management compensation. For options and equity-based compensation arrangements, we vote FOR proposals or amendments that would result in the available awards being less than 10% of fully diluted outstanding shares (i.e. if the combined total of shares, common share equivalents and options available to be awarded under all current and proposed compensation plans is less than 10% of fully diluted shares). In the event the available awards exceed the 10% threshold, we would also consider the % relative to the common practice of its specific industry (e.g. technology firms). Other considerations would include, without limitation, the following:

 

   

Compensation committee comprised of independent outside directors